The LIGHT FALLS project consists in the extensive redevelopment of a Victorian terraced house in the London’s Borough of Kensington, including the almost complete demolition and reconstruction of the existing dwelling and the addition of a basement and a double-height rear-extension. The project by FLOW Architecture and MAGRITS features an entirely new organisation that revolves around a new interior courtyard acting as a visual centre to the living spaces. With its sculptural treatment this vertical void opens new spectacular visual connections within the house, bringing new daylight deep into the dwelling’s darkest areas. The result is a strong atmospheric connection with the outdoors, with the sun casting ever-changing hues on the white-washed walls.
The ambition for a contemporary project challenging the traditional way of inhabiting the historical housing stock was set from the very start. Unhappy with the compartmentalised Victorian layout, the owners were looking for ways to maximise the fluidity of the vertically stacked living spaces and create a new home for their growing contemporary art collection. Set within the Abingdon Conservation Area, the house was subjected to a number of restrictions, with its external appearance to be largely preserved. The approach taken was to creatively turn the constraints into strategies by concentrating the design features towards the core of the building. The design of the garden was also approached with some freedom, as a green folly that extends the indoor aesthetic towards the outdoors.
The courtyard’s visual effects were enhanced with a series of vertical cuts amplifying the effect of the cross-views throughout the living spaces. The staircase was set similarly, with an encased configuration that opens completely towards the bottom section to organise the sequence of the entertainment areas. At the rear, the dining room continues the motif, with a direct visual link towards the garden through the light-weight glass extension.