architecture studio tonkin lui has completed the ‘sun rain rooms’, a two-storey extension and refurbishment of a listed georgian townhouse in london. the project serves as both a studio for the practice and a home for the partners’ family and features a serene garden terrace. 

tonkin liu sun rain room
the townhouse serves as both a studio for the practice and home for the architect’s family 
image by edmund sumner (also main image)

 

 

tonkin liu’s extension re-frames the rear terrace of the home to include a coffered plywood roof, curved in plan and section to allow maximum light into a garden. a pipe on the roof’s edge brings rainwater down from the top of the townhouse into a harvesting tank, which, when discharged, transforms the patio into a reflecting pool. animated by both sunshine and rain, the extension creates a tranquil setting for the homeowners.

tonkin liu sun rain room
the new design accommodates both prosaic and poetic aspects of domestic and studio rituals 
image by alex peacock

 

 

the new design accommodates both prosaic and poetic aspects of domestic and studio rituals’, explains the design team. under the roof, a garden room offers a living space for the home and a meeting space for the studio. a mirrored wall in the covered outdoor area beyond conceals a workshop, cooking area, tool shed, store, and deep planter for the small trees in the green roof above.

tonkin liu sun rain room
under the roof, a garden room serves as a living space and meeting room
image by alex peacock

 

 

the basement was extended to accommodate a bedroom, bathrooms and enlarged plant-filled light-well. the project exemplifies an innovative approach to live-work spatial programming, as the requirements for both office and family life are well adapted. the extension also showcases substantial innovation in the fields of timber and glass engineering.

tonkin liu sun rain room
the reflecting pool is animated in both sunshine and rainy weather
image by edmund sumner

 

 

‘as both the designer, contractor, client, and end-user, tonkin liu’s multifaceted role in this project is no doubt an atypical one,’ says mike tonkin, director, tonkin liu. ‘it has enabled us to test new ideas through prototypes and non-traditional construction methodologies, and to build an innovative and testing piece of architecture for a modest budget. we feel proud and lucky to be enjoying the benefits the refurbished and expanded spaces of the building bring.’


a mirrored wall in the covered outdoor area beyond conceals a workshop
image by edmund sumner


the home exemplifies a dynamic approach to work-home programming
image by edmund sumner


a light-filled well interrupts the living quarters
image by edmund sumner


the well maximizes natural lighting within the home
image by alex peacock 


an exterior spiral staircase contributes to vertical circulation 
image by edmund sumner


the water collection tank transforms the patio into a reflecting pool
image by edmund sumner

tonkin liu sun rain room
a pipe on the roof’s edge brings rainwater down from the top of the townhouse into a harvesting tank
image by edmund sumner

the front façade of the georgian townhouse maintains its traditional appearance
image by greg storrar 

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