New project on one the UK's most significant modern buildings



We're delighted to announce that we've been appointed to refurbish and upgrade the Grade II* listed Winter House in Highgate. The house is one of the best-known and most influential modern steel buildings in Britain designed by Jonathan Ellis-Miller's distinguished mentor, the late John Winter. The house is located within the Highgate Village Conservation Area and set between the two halves of the Grade I listed Highgate Cemetery. Built in 1969, it is a highly influential and unusual house in its structure, materials, plan and aesthetic and is still a model for minimal housing, as influential today as it was when it was built.

The steel frame, which is internal to reduce problems of cold and damp, permits the reorganisation of spaces as and when necessary. The house is clad in Corten steel, a weathering carbon steel which rusts to provide a protective layer of a consistent rich brown colour, which was the first domestic use of the material in the UK. External walls are entirely glazed, in double-glazed units with narrow full-height pivoting ventilators on the upper floors, and sliding units on the ground floor. The house is not designed primarily to be seen from the outside but to be experienced from the inside, for the view and close relationship with the landscape and monuments of Highgate Cemetery.

"Like a cemetery building, a crypt or a sepulcher, it needs to be private, inscrutable. But set within that context, it is also part of the Romantic landscape where the views, like in a Claude or Poussin are bucolic, of broken buildings and bowing trees. The aging of the cemetery’s ivy-covered and moss-encrusted tombstones is complemented in the house's most talked-about feature, its Cor-ten cladding. This oxidizing steel gives the building, at once, the patina of age while paradoxically placing it firmly in the last half of the twentieth century." Neil Jackson, Architectural Historian

02 August 2014