Timber frame conservatory on a listed house

The timber frame conservatory has a distinctive faceted roof

By Christina Chrysostomou | 6 December 2020

Architect Taro Tsuruta creates an innovative timber frame conservatory to replace the leaking steel and glass original. He reveals the thinking behind his design.

Exterior of timber frame conservatory with faceted, glazed roof

The timber frame conservatory with faceted, glazed roof . Image: Ståle Eriksen

What was your brief?

My clients, a family who live in a Grade II listed house in Islington, London, wanted to replace a steel and glass conservatory at the rear of their home that was leaking and damp. Its replacement needed to complement the garden, which is relatively big for the area. I proposed a timber structure because it is a material that is both contemporary and ancient, so the new build wouldn’t overpower or be too subservient to the house.

Interior of the timber frame conservatory with white washed timber panel walls

Conservatory interior with white-washed timber walls. Image: Ståle Eriksen

Tell us about the roof?

A lot of inspiration came from the shortcomings of the original conservatory. There was a height limitation in place, determined by the boundary wall. So, the roof had to have a shallow pitch and this is where drainage issues had arisen, which contributed to the structure leaking. The solution was a timber diagrid design with faceted double glazing. This creates several small but steep pitches, allowing the water to flow to a gutter at the junction between the house and the conservatory. So, when seen from the garden, the front of the conservatory is streamlined and free from visible gutters and drainpipes.