The White Parasite

This is an extension of a typical terraced house in a strict Conservation Area in Kensington & Chelsea, London.

The clients, a young family, were desperate to gain a separate space for their new born baby and to finally re-locate their work station away from the congested living area. Since the Planning Department would not allow an extension upwards the only other option was to explore the options at the back.

Space had been found in the shape of a double story rear extension on top of the one of the owners below.

The external envelope is made up by a conventional insulated brick wall to blend into the Conservation Area. It has 1no modern but traditional looking sash window on each floor. Only on a closer look it becomes apparent that the occasional brick is in fact a brick-shaped ‘window’ that punctures the internal, white box with natural sun light. The light is then ‘captured’ and ‘transformed’ into colourful batches thanks to a di-chroic film within the glass. As one moves through the spaces the colours and the reflectivness / transparency changes. In addition to that the movement of the sun casts colourful shadows against the crisp white interior. 

The white materials used simply differ in terms of their translucency, reflectivness and texture. The spaces are softened during the day thanks to the animation by the colours of the glazed brick windows and due to discrete illuminated light fields during the evening. Skylights on top of the upper level enable ultimate natural light qualities.

This concept puts the need for the sash windows in question and we are suggesting that these are opaque white glazed and therefore just an abstract reference to a building tradition. They are, however, still used for ventilation purposes.

The transformation from a 1-bedroom flat into a 2+ is assumed to have very positive implication on the value of the property.


Client: Katya Ionova


Structural engineer: TALL


Budget: Confidential


Status: Planning granted

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