For their own home in north London, architects Anna Liu and Mike Tonkin of British firm Tonkin Liu spent 12 years designing and building an extravagant rear addition envisioned as a theater for the weather.
A curved glass-walled hall leads past a courtyard terrace to a small covered space backed by a mirrored workshop. The swooping roof of the structure is richly planted with sedum and punctured by glass-domed holes that bring circles of light into the space.
But the real magic happens when it rains. Water gushes off the roof of the main house into a black downpipe that curves along the interior edge of the extension’s roof to gush out into a rainwater harvesting tank. The water from the tank can be used to flood the terrace, turning it into a reflecting pool at the push of a button.
“It is a good place to be on a bad day,” say the architects.
The backyard extension hides a sunken basement bedroom and two new bathrooms—lit by a sunken light well filled with plants.