cf-architects | Observatory Close - cf-architects

Observatory Close

This contemporary building is an extension to a Grade II listed cottage in Benson, Oxfordshire, parts of which date back to the 16th century. It has been designed to be low impact in scale and massing and to appear subordinate and contemporary in style to contracts with the existing historic listed property.


Generous glazing to the south wall provides a lightness to the structure. The rear is effectively concealed by the existing boundary wall, also Grade II listed and the east elevation will be partially embedded by the raised level of the surrounding garden. The small areas of solid wall are clad in snapped flint to provide a contemporary natural palette clearly linking to the existing building which has historic feature flint coursing at high level. The use of natural materials is continued with black stained timber door frames and a delicately detailed vertical timber shading detail which also provides a soft visual termination to the roof.


A planted sedum roof retains bio-diversity on the site for flora and fauna. It also provides a pleasing “5th elevation” when viewed from upper windows as a living extension to the garden. The project is currently on site and due to be completed in August 2016.