A rear side extension opens the back of this Victorian terrace house to it’s garden. A new glazed roof brings light deep into the plan. The floor throughout the rear of the house was lowered to provide additional head height and a consistent level with the new patio. The large pivot door allows unobstructed views of the garden, visually extending the space.
The exterior is imagined as three volumes each defined by a different material. The painted brick of the first floor sits on top of a striped timber cube with the smallest volume realised in ribbed render. The party wall is defined with white mosaic tiles and an oversized galvanised downpipe.
The tiles continue inside, defining a structural column and the plant shelf which extends from front to back. The interior uses a paired back material palette; whitewashed douglas fir joinery sits on top of a seamless resin floor with an enamel splatterware worktop and full wall pink curtain bringing texture to the space. The use of douglas fir continues for the structural fins and window reveals in the side extension.
The large open plan space has become the new heart of the home for the clients and their young family.
Contractor: John D Ltd
Photography by Jim Stephenson
The Strait of Gibraltar, a stretch of water that lies between Spain and Morocco may only be a mere 14 km, but geopolitically speaking it is more akin to a deep abyss, separating as it does two major continents.
Fuelled by the idea of creating an imaginary infrastructure spanning the Strait and thus a deeper connection between Europe and Africa, ’Project Heracles’ is the cumulative of a call to arms where participants were asked to respond with suggestions on a postcard. This is CAN’s proposal.
Liquid Geology is a collection of tables continuing the CAN’s experimental research into innovative material use in unexpected contexts.
The series features a dining, coffee and side table characterised by chunky rubber coated bases and slimline, steel enamel tops. The steel is hand cut and lightly bent to form a soft lip around the edge. The tabletops are coated with rich blue, green or orange enamel and fired in a kiln at 820 degrees celsius, before being hand splattered in a contrasting tone and re-fired.
The rough, craggy bases are coated in ‘rubber rock’, a unique material composition of recycled rubber chips and resin developed by CAN whilst researching alternative material uses in furniture production. Each base, which varies in size and form, is hand cast and coated in deep gloss paint to enhance the texture.
CAN’s Liquid Geology explores the idea of contrast through scale, texture and materiality. The collection was inspired by rugged coastal scenery, underwater deep-sea landscapes and Claude Monet’s 1880’s paintings of sunrise and sunset on the River Thames. CAN drew on the rich detailing and colouring of the impressionists’ work alongside the practices’ own ongoing research into geographic contexts to arrive at furniture with an otherworldly feel. The tabletops offer a reflective, lightly undulating surface like that of a lake which appears to float on rocky underwater outcrops, resulting in a collection of sculpture-like furniture designed to intrigue
Photographs by Felix Speller
A radical transformation of an Edwardian semi-detached house into a colourful family home topped with a stage set Mountain.
Materials, shapes and colours are intersected throughout to create highly textural and tactile spaces. The house takes its design cues from numerous pop culture sources including a Disneyland rollercoaster and a scene from the film trainspotting.
The house opens up progressively as you move through the ground floor, from the dark monochromatic front room through to the light filled extension.
The site slopes towards the garden which allowed the floor level of the back of the house to be lowered by a metre, connecting the new open plan kitchen/diner to the garden. A simple reconfiguration of the first floor provided an additional bedroom.
There was a focus on opening up the space and using the exposed textures and structure as the final finish. There is little built-in furniture to provide ultimate future flexibility.
The existing fabric of the building has been thermally upgraded throughout. The kitchen and exterior lintel facings are made from recycled chopping boards and milk bottle tops.
The exposed lasercut trusses in the extension nod to high-tech architecture and alongside the ranging pole columns, survey marker tiles and partially ruined brick wall add to a sense of the surreal.
Upstairs, the hallway ceiling has been removed opening it up to a new skylight above with the bones of the old house retained. A chequerboard bathroom references original tiles found in the house.
The project is a highly personal response to the family's tastes and way of living.
Photography by Jim Stephenson
A new artist studio for a sculptor and printmaker nestled along a small industrial mews in New Cross, London. Their different practices required very different work spaces; the sculptor required a big light-filled workshop, whilst the printmaker needed a smaller, darker area to work with UV sensitive materials.
Rather than trying to find a common ground between the scales and requirements of each artist, CAN designed the studio as if it were two adjacent studios on the mews; a large industrial workshop and compact domestic studio. The external styles of the volumes are purposefully opposite in style and represent the opposing scales of the artist's work. The tiled volume houses the smaller working areas, kitchen and bathroom and the workshop is in the larger steel and block volume. Internally, the open-plan space is subtly divided by the change in roof scale and the sculptural element that houses the bathroom. It makes the most of this form and arrangement to maximise sunlight in the kitchen spaces and northern light in the studios.
To maximise space with a limited budget the studio uses a combination of 'off the shelf' materials and materials the clients had accumulated from their practice. It elevates ordinary materials to the extraordinary – for instance, the use of scaffolding to create the roof structure.
The gabled forms take their cue from the generic industrial shed and the 18th century wash-house once located on the site. The tiled gables are ornamented with a double crow step. The volumes are off-set to create an external working area at the rear which also brings southern light into the kitchen through a set of double doors.
Photography by Andy Stagg
A radical housing type for a new creative community in North Yorkshire. A focus on community space over private gardens. Simple, modulated floor-plates with work-spaces opening onto the communal yard. A timber framework wrapped in Yorkshire stone. A collaboration with Esko Willman for the RIBA Lakes and Dales Competition.
A re-imagined Georgian glasshouse re-connects a Grade II Listed townhouse to its garden in Highbury, North London. The chamfered glazed enclosure is hung from a black steel frame which serves as both structure and ornament. Black concertina panels form a plinth to the glass. A bespoke glazed pocket door slides behind a hundred year old brick wall to connect the house to the newly landscaped garden.
Contractor: John D Ltd
Photography by Jim Stephenson
The QR Island hides information in plain sight. It looks at the encroachment of technology and advertising on both the planet and our daily lives.
By creating a fictional man-made landform as a digital link to CAN's website it proposes the largest scale of advertising yet, one which can be read from a plane or google earth.
Exhibited at Dezeen Platform
Mat Barnes | Eddie Blake
CAN’s shortlisted proposal for the Tooley Street Open Competition run by the London Festival of Architecture.
A chainmail theatre curtain sits atop a colonnade of mooring posts. The drawing of the curtains and Scrolling LED sign guide people towards the less polluted and congested riverside path as well as displaying other information and welcoming messages.
The pavilion provides highly visible way-finding whilst keeping the pavement free of obstructions. The chainmail curtains act as a visual marker and meeting point in this dis-orienting part of London Bridge. A much needed bit of theatre for this neglected site. A collaboration with Eddie Blake.
Our shortlisted proposal tackles many of the problems with today's rental market by proposing a new housing typology, which sits within a new community.
Streets have houses fronting onto them with common civic fronts, creating a sense of place for the development. At the same time, because of the small changes in colour and design, each unit is different, and lets tenants feel ownership of their home. At the rear, a higgledy piggledy elevation, with room for customisation by tenants, overlooks a common garden that residents can use for playspaces and growing vegetables. The approach of using a civic front facade, with a changeable plan behind, maintains a suburban character to the terraced streets, yet allows flexible and “size-blind” units behind.
Within the development everything can be rented off the landlord of the estate, from work-space or street cars, to furniture packages and additional rooms. As part of the tenancy agreement, certain aspects of managing the development, such as street sweeping, are done by residents. Based on the number of hours a resident spends on development management, as well as how long they have rented their property for, they receive a rent reduction.
By arranging the units into blocks of 60 units, roughly 150 residents will use the communal garden, corresponding with Dunbar’s Number for the ideal number of individuals in a community. These communities will have their own social network to distribute unwanted furniture, excess vegetables and arrange events.
A collaboration with Office S&M
Installation & Exhibition Design for Sir John Soane’s Museum.
A collaboration with Harry Lawson.
Drawing from Soane’s approach to collecting, the installation takes the form of three cabinets, entitled All That Was, All That Is and All That Could Have Been. Inside each cabinet, CAN and Lawson have placed a number of objects—including both the natural and man-made, the fragmentary and complete, the rarefied and everyday.
Together these micro-collections reflect on the ways we understand and appreciate physical objects in the digital age, and how, in turn, they shape our understanding of the wider world.
All That Was
Constructed in the form of a façade, this cabinet reflects on the conflicts between developing new architectural ideas and retaining historic architectural elements. It takes the physical object as its starting point, presenting historical artefacts, ranging from old rocks to redundant technology, to examine how objects are read and understood in the present and how their meaning can shift over time.
All That Is
Taking the form of a scaffold, this cabinet reflects on the idea of a construction forever in a state of flux. The objects within this cabinet—replicas or objects created in series—aim to unpick the notion of the hallowed or sacred object. Following the way images exist on the internet in infinitely reproduced form, here objects appear accelerated into caricatures of their original intentions.
All That Could Have Been
This cabinet adopts a tomb-like form to examine the space of contemporary cultural production. Trapped in the limelight are a range of fragments, building materials, exhibition labels and vinyl letters. Taken together, this incoherent collection of the unrealised, underdeveloped and implied posits a kind of completion for what was never completed or reached its final form.
Photography by Tim Bowditch
CAN, in collaboration with Nina Shen-Poblete, were asked to design a window installation for the RIBA's ‘Regent Street Windows project’.
Our window re-imagines the glazed street frontage of 76 Portland Place in a ghosted silhouette of the by-gone Georgian terrace. The ornate openings celebrate a lost street view but their un-ceremonious ‘blocking up’ reminds us of the impermanence of our city fabric and their layered stories. On closer inspection, the blocks reveal exquisitely ornamented surfaces that have been machine cut, using a process normally reserved for precious stone and marble. The humble breezeblock, once a ubiquitous building material has thus been framed, displayed and elevated as a high-end product.
The installation continues inside by framing the waiting area with a sofa made from squidgy foam breeze blocks, made in-house.
A complete remodelling of an existing mews house in Hackney. A tin roof extension is added and a stepped corner gable shifts the ‘front’ of the house to the corner creating a new relationship with the existing street approach.
The project has received planning permission and is due to start construction in 2021.
The design imbeds itself in its context, reflecting the eclectic history of the square back on its self. It plays on the square’s ecclesiastical past by using the church's technique of celebrating people and events through the use of Stained Glass.
Each of the three windows is dedicated to one of the square’s most influential people; John Newton, the clergyman who wrote ‘Amazing Grace’, Peter Durand, a merchant who invented the process of tinning and preserving food and lastly, Eddie Piller, the founder of the square’s first nightclub, The Blue Note, which signalled the tide of the creative industries to the area.
Mat Barnes | Eddie Blake | Photos + Film by Tamás Olajos
The internal re-modelling of a 1960's semi to utilise its square plan and abundance of natural light.
The scheme hinges on the installation of a single I-beam opening the kitchen up to the rest of the ground floor. The kitchen takes it's ornamental cue from local train stations and the uniform brick of the surrounding garden estate.
The garden is concealed behind a full wall of baby pink latex.
A rooflight was added to bring light into the new bathroom with cupboards and niches set into a false wall.
CAN has been commissioned to design a single person dwelling for an artist on an extremely tight site in the Brookmill Conservation Area, Deptford.
The scheme is currently in planning.
‘The soft’ning wax, that felt a nearer sun, dissolv’d apace, and soon began to run.’
As part of the Group of 41's inaugural outing, CAN was asked to respond to one of 24 lines of Ovid's Daedulus and Icarus.
Throughout the day, wax Icarus' were slowly thrust towards a deep red heat lamp, where they met their fate and collected on the mirrored table below.
Mat Barnes | Nina-Shen Poblete