Exterior wall panels of Corian® - Private Residence North London
Extension by Alison Brooks Architects, to the rear of a North London residential property, featuring a rain screen façade made from DuPont™ Corian® hi-tech surfaces. Photo Jake Fitzjones for DuPont. All rights reserved.

Discreet from street level behind an 1860 North London house sits a spectacular new extension designed by Stirling Prize winning Alison Brooks Architects. An angular projection of dynamic shapes and planes, the structure is distinguished not only by its creative vision, but also by the use of DuPont Corian® high-tech surface to form a striking rain screen façade.

A jigsaw of geometric elements, these sleek panels of DuPont Corian® clad the exterior of the addition, providing both aesthetic fascination and durable functionality. The new structure is designed to give a threefold enhancement to the property: an open plan kitchen/dining space with sliding glass doors at garden level, a cantilevered expansion of the living space above this, opening to a terrace which partially rests over the spacious new garden level home office, which also has its own entrance from a stepped-down patio at the front of the house.

The specification for the cladding was originally for zinc, but at the request of the client and home owner, this was switched to DuPont Corian® - the multi-talented material which is increasingly being used to create distinctive, high-performance ventilated facades. Offering longevity, versatility, good fire-rating, UV resistance in selected colours and low maintenance, DuPont Corian® is lightweight and easily workable – and should any damage occur, can be repaired. Completely solid, non-porous and homogenous, DuPont Corian® confidently weathers a range of climatic conditions and is compatible with a variety of fixing systems.

Extension by Alison Brooks Architects, to the rear of a North London residential property, featuring a rain screen façade made from DuPont Corian® hi-tech surfaces. Photo Jake Fitzjones for DuPont. All rights reserved.

Alison Brooks comments, “This project was a fantastic opportunity to take a highly sculptural approach to a London house conversion and extension that now provides a family home plus workspace. In addition to a full structural renovation, opening up the semi-basement and creating a double height living/kitchen space, the extensions were designed to draw in light from the sky, embrace the garden, and capture a precise view of the massive walnut tree near the house.  
The eight-sided trapezoidal form of the side extension keeps a low profile from the street, rests lightly on the ground with undercut walls to avoid the tree roots, and funnels light into the workspace. A continuation of the extension’s planar geometry, the first floor bay window focuses directly on the walnut tree. Where the side and rear bay window extensions merge, seven surfaces come together at one point. Each trapezoidal plane of the scheme is either fully glazed or fully solid – there are no ‘punched windows’. Both roof and wall planes are one material. This approach creates an architecture without mass and weight, it is more like the folded surfaces of origami.


Extension by Alison Brooks Architects, to the rear of a North London residential property, featuring a rain screen façade made from DuPont Corian® hi-tech surfaces. Photo Jake Fitzjones for DuPont. All rights reserved.

The complexity of this building geometry demanded a rainscreen cladding material that is very flat, dimensionally stable and which could be cut to precise shapes. Our original scheme proposed pre patinated rigid zinc cassettes, but our client found an even more suitable and durable alternative in DuPont Corian®. The sheets are absolutely flat, and able to be cut to very precise tolerances with mitred edges where several planes meet. The through colour is stable and therefore offers minimal maintenance. The smooth finish of DuPont Corian® means that the faceted sides of the building reflect light in varying shades from silver-white to black, depending on the weather. The vented rainscreen system allows for rainwater gutters and downpipes to be concealed underneath the cladding, producing a clean and sculptural architectural form.”

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