nnU House / Studio Jayga Architects

31 March 2022 -
Richard Pinson
  nnU House gets its name from the symmetrical shapes of its two arched doors (‘nn’) and the up-and-over frameless glass box (‘U’) while viewing the house from the garden. This exclusive kitchen extension is the genius work of Studio Jayga Architects.

The requirement was for a young family with challenging careers located in Loughton, Essex, UK. The brief involved developing a modern-day space with an open-plan living that connected with or overlooked the 300 ft. stretch of a lovely garden.

Originally, the ground floor of the 1930s semi-detached property featured three areas towards the back: an outdated narrow kitchen, a 1980s extension that was used as the dining room, and a confined windowless living room. All the rooms were on the same level, about one meter above the garden with steep steps leading to it. Moreover, a daunting outbuilding near the house obscured the view of the garden and restricted natural daylight.

The architects demolished the outbuilding and redesigned the three areas with a new back extension, creating a split-level design linked with internal steps. This put the new kitchen floor on the same level as the outside. Also, metal arched doors allowed a direct visual and physical connection with the garden without having to change any levels.

A linear roof light placed between extensions linking the two internal areas and the existing house allows natural light to penetrate the centre of the house. The external casing of the extension was clad with timber charred on-site, using an ancient Japanese technique called ‘shou-sugi-ban’.

An up-and-over frameless glass box creates an exclusive curved window seat that provides a continuous view of the beautiful garden and the sky above. It is a relaxing place for working, reading, or writing throughout the year, and also floods the dining table below with natural sunlight. Coming back to the kitchen, the units and island were designed to complement the smooth curves of the glass box and arched doors.

The elliptical island featured curved flutes on all sides and a colourful and exuberant terrazzo worktop, while the wall units were kept high to maximise storage space. Again, natural tones were used to highlight the cheerful colours of the garden.

Photos by: Marcus Peel