House of Books was recently remodeled to include a multi-level bookcase for a couple of book lovers by architecture studio SHH, located in Hampstead, London, England. The property’s name derives from its previous owner, Labour leader Michael Foot, who was known as ‘The Old Bibliophile’ because of his enormous library of books.
Description from the architects: True to the spirit of the 4,000 square foot house, the new owners are also bibliophiles (owning over 100 linear metres of books) and the property has now been completely reconfigured (including new floors, walls, stairs and rear extension in cedar wood and zinc), ensuring that books remain a central feature, with an aluminium, two-sided bookcase forming a spine around which all five storeys of a spectacular new stair (made of individual steel trays dipped in orange liquid rubber and bolted over individual cantilevered steel hoops ) are wrapped. The bookcase also sits within the new steel frame of the house, with all new structural elements bespoke-designed by SHH as part of the project.
The property was completely gutted and then re-created behind its traditional frontage to achieve this radical new interior structure, together with a new cedar and zinc side and rear extension to increase floor space.
‘We ripped the whole house out behind the façade’ explained Stuart McLauchlan, ‘and built a new steel and timber-frame to sit within the old brick skin and connect it to the existing structure.
The space configuration and resulting floors, walls and stair are all new, with the new stair more linear than its predecessor and set to one side in order to create more floor space. The house was extended not only to the rear but also to the side in order to house the ambitious new stair and bookcase concept.’
The five-storey house starts with a garden level and goes up to a raised ground floor entrance level, which doesn’t extend fully to the far edge of the rear extension, so that a double-height space is created beyond at the back of the house.
A master suite is located on the first floor, with further bedrooms and bathrooms for the client’s family on the second and third floors.
Photos: Alastair Lever
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