Nassau Road, Barnes, London

Project Overview

Barnes Basement

This project concerns a basement extension in Barnes which is located below the garden and is linked to the main dwelling via an enclosed staircase. The majority of our London basements include a part of the basement which extends below the garden. Fewer basement projects have the entire basement sited below the garden and therefore this project presents a number of interesting opportunities.

Basement Design

The key issue that arises is the maximisation of natural light and the creation of a sense of space within the basement. These are the issues that typically arise when designing basement extensions set below the existing building. In a garden setting the way in which this is dealt with is slightly different. One of the key planning concerns is the outward manifestation of the basement, be it in the form of lightwells, rooflights, or structural glass panels. Clearly in a garden setting there is sensitivity around locating rooflights within the garden and there is less opportunity to link natural light from upper floors that filters down into the basement extension.

Garden Basement

The first opportunity to bring light into the basement and to create a sense of space is the design of the stair that links the basement to the main house, and the nature of the enclosure around it. Here we have aligned the stair with a side passage which we have enclosed with a glass roof, thereby bringing light down into the basement and providing views out towards the sky from within the basement. Once down the stair we have then set a structural glass rooflight in a paved zone in alignment with the stair, and this too provides a high level of natural light and once again views out towards the sky. Through these devices the impression of the basement below the garden is of one filled with light. It is now important to reinforce this feeling by presenting a series of glimpses and views and a design whereby one moves through the basement guided by a series of diverse sources of natural light.

Basement Lightwell

The next view that is most apparent is of a perimeter lightwell. This has been pulled away from the main building as the client wants to maintain a sitting and dining terrace. It is also beneficial to move the lightwell further back as it provides light and extensive views out at the heart of the basement. Set around the lightwell are a series of spaces that benefit from the view and fresh air.

Key Project Features
  • Project Status: Planning Approved