2004 - 2013
Private residential
Design study


This project is one of a series of prototype dwellings which look afresh at the urban condition. The brief for this model is to examine the limit of density for large family houses. The house is conceived in the spirit of a Georgian terrace – a neutral framework which can be easily adapted to fit different needs – that has served London so well, but reconfigured to suit contemporary lifestyles. A finite land supply will create pressure to make the most of the available space. Basements, roof terraces and courtyards extend usable space while volumetric and envelope design tune the balance between privacy and connection. Control of daylight is a key element controlled through careful building massing and positioning of windows.
While we render this in an uncompromisingly modern idiom, the principles are not tied to a particular form of expression.
The first strategic planning move is to push the main living spaces up to the first floor where they are more open to daylight. The house thus adopts the Renaissance palazzo arrangement of the piano nobile looking down to the street. A run of bedrooms is then placed below on the ground floor and pushed backwards to the rear boundary wall. This in turn creates space for a terrace associated with the living rooms. The remaining accommodation is structured around these core functions.
In cross section the building is broadly split into strips of interior and exterior space. The narrower courtyard strip allows daylight to penetrate the full length of the house and down to lower levels. We learned lessons from Sir John Soane’s House at Lincoln’s Inn Fields where the clever use of top light and reflecting surfaces brings daylight deep into its land-locked rear rooms and in the process creates a magical sense of atmosphere.
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