The sensitive redevelopment of a Victorian villa and its gardens by architect PH+ provides 10 family homes


Timothy Soar

The large, mature gardens of Beacon Lodge in Fortis Green, north London, have been redeveloped by architect PH+ to provide new homes that sit comfortably in the conservation area. The imposing mid-nineteenth century building has itself been subdivided and refurbished while an adjacent new terrace is designed with brick detailing to reference the local context.


Unsympathetic additions have been stripped from the original building and new, modern additions made, to form three dwellings, while the new building, aligned on the street, contains six maisonettes with private gardens that open out into the communal garden beyond. To the rear of the site, a single discrete ‘garden pavilion’ dwelling is perched over the garden wall, taking advantage of its position overlooking the mature garden.

The maisonette block is positioned between Beacon Lodge and the adjacent house on astern Road, with a gap of six metres between each. The height of the building follows the general topography of the road, which has a gentle gradient down to the south, and aligns with the corner of Beacon Lodge. It is articulated as three terrace units, each of which contains two maisonettes with a separate entrance at ground level. The lower dwellings are at ground and lower ground levels, while the upper dwellings occupy the first and second levels.

The material palette, sympathetic to the London yellow stock brick and slate tiles of the original building, comprises an Ibstock Ivanhoe Cream brick, and the associated details are designed to visually link the three buildings. At concept stage a dogtooth brick bond observed on the eaves of local buildings was selected as a secondary detail for the project. By laying the bricks at a less acute angle than was traditionally used, however, the frog undersides could be concealed, resulting in improved aesthetics and robustness. The facade details were refined in a close collaboration with the bricklayer, and as a result the dogtooth areas of brickwork were rendered as panels rather than bands, improving buildability and resulting in a higher quality finish.

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