Shape Architecture was asked to design a lightwell for a basement project by our Client in Fulham. Given the many basement extensions we have built in Fulham and throughout London we have a lot of experience of lightwell design in various forms and were very pleased to be involved.
Our work started with a survey of the existing basement and then we moved onto producing a series of lightwell designs. These explored the various issues of how best to connect the basement to the garden, how to access from the ground floor over the lightwell and also issues around being able to sit out and eat and the general integration of lightwell, basement and garden.
Six design options were produced for discussion with our Client. Each explores the design issues through a variety of materials and geometries. We show Glass platforms that would allow sitting out and some have semi-opaque sections etched into them. Other options have a narrower width of glass and this would feel more akin to a bridge than a platform. Timber decking is also integrated into the design options in various shapes. The expression of the stair up from the basement lightwell is looked at in a variety of ways with edges of the platform above, variously over sailing, following its line or being pulled away. Planting and balustrading at the edges of the lightwell and steps is also a key consideration, since we do not want to see too many runs of balustrading, albeit in glass, criss-crossing at ground floor level.
To the underside of the lightwell bridges and platforms, will be a series of steel supports and these are painted out in dark grey. From below the mixture of glass, void and solid is also a key consideration. The lightwell needs to work well and be fully integrated as a source of light and circulation, at both basement and garden levels.