Pink house extension in North London celebrates nature, colour and material

A pink house extension, crafted by architecture studio Unknown Works, defines Pigment House, a new, minimalist North London home

rear extension view interior of pink house in concrete, the Pigment House by unknown works
(Image credit: Lorenzo Zandri)

A pink house extension peeks out from the green foliage among a series of rear gardens in North London; welcome to Pigment House by Unknown Works. The architecture studio, one of the 20 highlighted in the 2022 Wallpaper* Architects Directory, is a refined piece of minimalist architecture that celebrates colour and material, in an idyllic urban backdrop filled with planting and sleepy period homes. 

rear view of pink house, the Pigment House by unknown works

(Image credit: Lorenzo Zandri)

Crafting the eye catching, pink house extension

Pigment House was a commission by two clients, an ex TV producer and a barrister. The pair was after the reimagining of their four story semi-detached terrace to place a firmer focus towards the rear garden, and alongside it, rework the inside/outside relationships within the home. 

kitchen inside Pigment House by unknown works

(Image credit: Lorenzo Zandri)

Set on a steep slope, the property featured plenty of space but the lower levels suffered from dark, enclosed rooms. Unknown Works, headed by co-directors Ben Hayes, Kaowen Ho and Theo Games Petrohilos, inspired by the clients' travels, looked to the modernist architecture of Mexican Luis Barragan to change that - and in particular the master's approach to volumes, surfaces and use of colour.

Pigment House by unknown works is a pink concrete house

(Image credit: Lorenzo Zandri)

The result is a radical transformation of the lower, rear and outdoors areas, through the excavation of the hillside and the re-terracing of the steeply sloped garden. The patio's concrete walls and floors are now defined by their dusty pink pigment (all concrete work was done by specialist Francisco Checa Romero) - which is complemented by rendered wall panels on the exterior facade. 

living space inside pink house, the Pigment House by unknown works

(Image credit: Lorenzo Zandri)

Inside, everything was stripped back to its minimalist shell, and reworked to prioritise generosity of space and light - as well as views towards the garden. Fresh bespoke elements - such as the custom oak kitchen with sawn oak cabinetry, which was made by designer Alistair Fleming in Lewes - further elevate the space through design and a made-to-measure approach. 

pink house's concrete courtyard at Pigment House by unknown works

(Image credit: Lorenzo Zandri)

‘Playful land-forming was essential to unlocking the potential of this home, reconnecting the interior spaces of the house to a challenging steep upward sloping garden. The creative use of a limited material palette allowed us to create a cohesive home that feels contemporary and characterful,' says Hayes. 

pink house concrete staircase at Pigment House by unknown works

(Image credit: Lorenzo Zandri)

And his clients agree: ‘Unknown Works guided us through difficult times in construction, part of which coincided with Covid and the aftermath of Brexit; as a result, the costs of materials and labour increased dramatically during the project. Ben always presented a calming influence on the project and helped us navigate these and other challenges without compromising on the quality of home we were aiming for. As for the house, it already had a great combination of proportion and light amplified by UW’s design which remodelled the main living space and integrated it with the wonderful pink concrete terrace and garden.’ 

kitchen view at Pigment House by unknown works

(Image credit: Lorenzo Zandri) 

Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture & Environment Director at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018), Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020) and House London (2022).