This 280 m2 project demonstrates the value in questioning the brief creatively and constructively in collaboration with the client.


Originally wanting simply to refurbish the ground floor of this end-of-terrace family home on an awkward triangular site, the client ended up reconfiguring and extending the whole building for an end result that perfectly married practical need to beauty.


As they said, “Coffey Architects’ particular skill was helping us to express what we wanted by challenging our preconceptions and so understand what was possible.


Our final design resolved problems with the internal layout – especially the connection between the second floor and lower floors – and the perceived security issues about the clients’ children being able to play safely in the garden.


With extensions to the front, rear and roof, and by rearranging the entrance sequence and vertical circulation, the design also brought light and long views into the house. The central plywood and aluminium ‘folded’ sculptural feature links circulation, making a pleasingly homogeneous internal space.


Smart moves, significant solutions

Folded House shows how smart moves in plan, section and circulation can add significant value in terms of lifestyle for a typical family living in London. A folded plywood intervention including a stair, kitchen and sizeable extension connects the home to its site, and, through an architectural promenade, its users.

Stair, sky and light

The original staircase has been removed and is replaced with a vertiginous, modern, birch plywood square spiral stair which rises through a void with a large skylight at its zenith. Light pours in during the morning, casting shadows and bringing life to this primary space in the centre of the home.

The stair inserts itself within the traditional first and second floors through careful detailing between new and old.

Entrance and experience

The project is a study of the architectural promenade, how entrance and circulation can transform the feel of an existing home both in terms of practicality, perceived scale and joy. By challenging the original brief, we reconnected the top floor of the home with a new stair and extended the kitchen, addressing the entrance issues of the house.

Look up

In addition to the elegant stairway roof cutout, a glazed ceiling in the main living space invites dramatic light and greenery indoors.

This detail connects the home to garden, stitching the two spaces into one.

Project credits


  • 2013 RIBA Awards London - shortlisted
  • 2012 Homebuilding & Renovating Awards, Best Renovation - won


  • Structural: Elliott Wood
  • Building Control: MLM

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