Sky Lantern House

Proctor & Shaw

: Structural Engineer - Blue Engineering

Sky Lantern House is an innovative full house refurbishment and extension project based in South London for a young family of four. The project’s success lies in the genuine collaborative approach to design and procurement between architect, client and contractor. A radical project has evolved which explores the core architectural principals of light, form, and craft but importantly has been delivered with value and environmental responsibility.

With a handsome south-facing street frontage that remained untouched for heritage reasons, solutions to maximise daylighting from the north were explored to lift the gloomy interiors. Early studies explored how simple stacked massing, inspired by the existing variable sized dormers, could be added to the rear without it impeding on neighbouring amenities. This exterior simplicity created interior spacial complexity with differing floor levels, ceiling heights and room depths demanding bold structural and material solutions in order to create light joyful spaces. Externally, a cascading series of stacked volumes replace a poorly constructed previous extension. The upper box defines a double height space that connects the timber-lined study with the social activity of the home. Clad in vertical glass planks it evokes the ethereal quality of a floating ‘sky lantern’ at night. The textured translucent finish protects neighbouring views whilst bringing abundant clerestory light deep into the plan. Environmentally the project is designed beyond required thermal performance, achieving a 27% improvement over regulatory U-values, and enhances local bio-diversity with increased areas of garden planting and green roof.