Project type
Aerial view of the ground and basement floor extension with outdoor staircase in East London
Photo realistic renders of a glass rear extension on the ground floor and basement floor to a Victorian house
Garden view of a modern and bright glass extension in a Conservation Area
Realistic renders of the double-storey extension with external decking leading to the garden and a stairway from the basement bedroom leading directly up to the garden
Interior design of a bright living room with soft grey sofas, blue accept curtains and large brown wall mounted shelves with built in lights
Interior design renders of the living room and kitchen that have warm undertones of browns, dusty pinks and light browns with minimal gold accents in the light fixtures
Dining room, kitchen and living room interior design with gold accented dining chairs and notes of black and white art prints and furnishings
Close-up view of a white and rose gold marble kitchen island with light wood barstools and neutral decor
Rear extension and rethought basement
Rear extension and rethought basement
Rear extension and rethought basement
Rear extension and rethought basement

A bold, ultra-sustainable rear and basement extension to a conservation area house


Queensbridge Road E8

Local Authority

Hackney Council

Plot Type

Conservation Area

Project Type



Rear extension and rethought basement

Services by Urbanist Architecture

Project Architect, Delivery Architect, Planning Consultant


Blue Engineering, Assure Building Control, Teague & Co


How do you make a Victorian house fit – in every way – for 21st-century living? This was the question that our clients were wrestling with. Eager to find out how this could be done, they engaged us to carry out a comprehensive feasibility study while they were completing the purchase of the house.

We examined how we could add space to their home – but, just as importantly, how the space could be used better. For instance, there was a conservatory that was effectively stuck on the back wall, and didn’t allow light into the rest of the ground floor.

Lack of light was an even bigger problem on the lower ground floor, where the kitchen/living room, a small bedroom and a pokey bathroom existed in gloom on all but the sunniest days.

We suggested to the clients that there were real possibilities for improving the potential of their Victorian house – and that these should be possible without creating a huge extension on the ground floor, something that would likely have been impossible in the conservation area.

Before & After

Measured building floor plans of the exisiting ground floor which only accomodated for a small living room and kitchen


There would be two strands to the ambitious plans for this house: the first concerned the livability of the space, and the second would make it much more sustainable.

To make the lower-ground floor bright and inviting, we extended it at the rear by around 5m and then created a larger and more open lightwell, with stairs going up into the garden. The new bedroom here has two glass walls and a door onto the lightwell. That also allowed the old bedroom to be converted into a larger bathroom - which is much more of a usable space.

On the ground floor, the conservatory was replaced with a new extension, still with glass walls and roof, but now fully opened into the rest of the Victorian house, so that the whole storey is one big, light-filled space.

That’s just half the story, though. With the addition of photovoltaic panels on the roof and a ground-source heat pump, the need for power from the mains is significantly reduced. Meanwhile, the loft insulation was upgraded to lower energy consumption. Finally, the front courtyard was redesigned to make it much easier to store bicycles, which our clients use as their primary transport.

This is a bold reimagining of a traditional house while still fully respectful of the conservation area. The council appreciated this, and granted planning permission.

Realistic renders of the double-storey rear extension which includes a basement extension in East London

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