The Sponge by Unagru

The Sponge designed by Unagru reimagines urban living in north London. Unagru delivered a free-flowing reinvention of this traditional north London terrace home. Photography by Ståle Eriksen.


The Sponge project has reimagined a traditional Victorian terrace, delivering a bright and flexible family home. The name is inspired by the deliberate design intention of puncturing the house as much as possible with windows, skylights and glass, allowing natural daylight to penetrate deep within the building.

The scheme has extended the original dwelling into the basement, side, rear and roof of the property. This additional space has made it possible to rethink the historic circulation, preferring a more fluid layout to achieve an exciting experience of movement through the building. The side and rear extensions are clad in dark stained marine plywood, with dark stained hardwood window and door frames. Below ground level, walls, paving, and stairs are all clad in stacked black bricks.

The basement and ground floor are interconnected open-plan spaces, designed to be directly related to the garden. Sliding doors, changes in levels and slatted screens have replaced partitions, doors and corridors to provide a fluid space with varying degrees of separation and privacy. Long convex joinery walls model the space at both levels, incorporating the services areas, storage and the kitchen units. A curling steel stair, encased in a slatted wooden box, gives access to the basement. The stair is enclosed into a loose wooden box that resembles an atrium, illuminated from above, and floating over a large fish tank installed in the basement. The stair and box are located in the middle of the ground floor, serving as both a direct connection between the two levels and light source in the layout’s darkest area. The wooden box acts as a perforated screen between the front sitting room and the open plan kitchen and dining area at the rear.

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