Walden
London

Flash flooding in 2021 caused significant damage to this two-bedroom basement apartment in Tufnell Park. The subsequent refurbishment focused on extending, insulating, and flood-proofing the basement flat, retaining as much garden area as possible. The original property presented a design challenge that required thoughtful solutions to prevent future water ingress, while also bringing natural light into the home and preserving garden space.

The design philosophy centred around sustainability, using timber flitch beams to minimise steel use - a decision influenced by logistical constraints and environmental considerations. Any steel used was left exposed, contributing to the aesthetic appeal of the new structural elements. The project required underpinning due to its mid-terrace location, and a Basement Impact Assessment was necessary for planning approval.

The renovation resulted in a cabin-like volume built with lightweight and natural materials. Stepped double and triple-glazed windows along an extended elevation mirror the garden's contour, allowing for direct planting against the windows. This design approach, coupled with a roof structure accommodating angled rooflights and a Siberian larch louvre on the rear elevation, maximises garden topsoil surface area and natural light, helping flood resilience.

Internally, the use of limewash allows the walls to breathe, while external walls received a damp-resistant treatment and were lined with insulation. Flood defences include channel drains around the extension, linked to an oversized basement water pump for storm surges. This project addresses the increasing threat of flash flooding in London while also presenting a model for future ground-level extensions, integrating the home with its natural surroundings for a calming, resilient living environment.

Project Information

Client:

Private

Architect:

Polysmiths

Photography:

French + Tye

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