Silent Room

The house in Arbour Hill is lived in by a composer. He had already made a beautiful door connecting the front and back rooms; it forms an enfilade with the windows on the front and rere elevations. The project was to make a bathroom and, in the tangled garden, a music room impervious to the night noises of the neighbourhood - keeping music in and out.

The plan established two simple prismatic volumes- cubes to play with, a rooflit bathroom and a thick-walled music room making abstract spaces against one another and the garden walls. The first space is urban in character with a grey gravel floor; the volumes are set apart to allow sun to enter from the South; salvage stone steps descend from the house. The rere court is rural, like a country lane - the intervention has made the back garden seem bigger than it was before work began.

The new work defies scale; it describes a dense life within a small space - the house, its sitting room, the kitchen, the steps down, the path across the court to the music room door, the rustic space beyond the window.

House and site together form a series of cubic internal and external spaces; the music room echoes the proportion of the front room in the house. The pure white materiality of the new emphasises the roughness of the green-hued concrete garden walls, which were retained exactly as they were. The axial relationships already implicit in the house are extended into the new spaces; the kitchen window became a door (steel - set in a recess to avoid frames) aligned through the music room on the rere garden wall.