Rickham House

Bray, Berkshire

Private Residential | Listed Building | Sustainable Project

Rickham House in Bray is a significant Grade 2 listed structure in a prominent position in the village of Bray in Berkshire. Shape Architecture was commissioned to design a large contemporary extension and remodel the interior.

The extension provides the kind of desirable spacious open plan modern living that the existing arrangement of numerous small rooms did not. Shape Architecture was appointed for this project on the basis of our experience in working with listed buildings set in conservation areas throughout London and the South-East.

Our Client writes:

“Jason took on the job of designing a very contemporary 2 storey extension that would fit well with our Grade II listed part Tudor, part Georgian house set right in the middle of a conservation area in a very pretty but particular village!  Many would have walked politely away faced with nosy neighbours, planners, parish councillors, listed buildings conservation officers, not to mention fairly demanding clients but Jason stuck with us and in his quiet, understated way negotiated his path through every challenge with charm and professionalism.  As a result of his vision and skill we ended up with a wonderfully contemporary design, that showed off rather than blended with the existing building and we got permission to build a much larger extension that we originally thought that we would be able to.  I wouldn’t hesitate to use Jason again and have recommended him to many of my friends.”

The extension sits in a side section of the building plot and extends out into the garden

The extent of the site is finally established with the demolition of several outbuildings. A significant feature is the historic brick garden wall, much of which will become an interior wall within the extension. This helped decide the design approach of using a limited number of materials which would be carefully composed and clearly expressed.

In order not to put any weight on retained walls a simple and elegant oak frame is designed to sit within the existing fabric. Clearly expressed, the oak posts establish an interesting rhythm and serve to ‘frame’ sections of the warm red brickwork. Set in contrast to the texture and detail of the brick walls is a polished concrete floor which is a simple and elegant base on which to place furniture. It helps reflect light around the interior and adds to the contemporary feel of the space.

Maximisation of natural light

The extension is filled with light from a large rooflight and a series of low and high level windows. These include a large expanse of glass set into the rear of the roof that allows views down into the space from the upper levels of the house. The client was particularly interested in adding a sustainable extension to the listed building. This has been achieved through a combination of measures, prime amongst which is the maximisation of natural light through the series of rooflights and glazed screens.

Eco credentials

Elsewhere simple measures such as high levels of insulation and high performance windows have been specified alongside energy efficient lighting. A sedum roof sits over the rear half of the extension that will absorb up to 70 per cent of rainwater that falls upon it.