IF_DO has completed Montague Court, a small apartment extension on a constrained urban plot in Dalston, northeast London.
The apartment sits within a former synagogue, which is characterised by its octagonal form. The project extends the ground floor with the insertion of a naturally lit, naturally ventilated, insulated timber structure into an existing north-facing courtyard. Although small in scale, IF_DO aimed to echo the highly unusual geometry of the original building with a triangulated roof, creating a lofty, dynamic and unexpected space. Large triangular roof lights bring north light into the home, transforming the formerly dark and unused courtyard, while retaining the south-facing garden. The extension increases the gross internal area by over 30%, and creates a second bedroom.
The building, constructed as a synagogue in 1902 and converted to housing in the 1990s, is distinguished by its octagonal form and large Crittall windows, the Hebrew on the façade – announcing it as Montague Road Beth Hamedrash, and the irregular courtyard gardens which hug the perimeter of the building.
The new, single-storey extension is slotted directly between the existing brick walls of the synagogue and site boundary. The timber structure is constructed of seven softwood posts with a triangulated roof formed from bespoke metal flitch plates and deep softwood joists.
Montague Court responds to the unusual building and site constraints with careful detailing and high-quality materials. The architects have limited the palette to birch timber panels and joinery on all walls, bringing warmth to the space, with terrazzo flooring and plinth – set at the height of the original floor level of the synagogue – responding to the original terrazzo threshold of the building.