The client had a garage laying dormant for 10 years. He approached us and asked us to do something with it. We successfully gained planning permission for a one bedroom house. The site measures 11 x 3.6 meters and the building footprint is 3.6 x 8.6metres. It was a challenge to design a house on such a small footprint. Due to concerns about overlooking into neighboring properties, we were only permitted to put windows to the side and to the front of the house, not to the rear.
The budget was very tight and the final contract value was only £170,000, which is a similar price to an extension in most parts of London. We worked very closely with the contractor to achieve this price, andproduced a full construction package for tender.
The site terminates a terrace of strong 19th-century Victorian townhouses. The interestingthing about the existing Victorian townhouses are the vertical windows, the horizontal lines created by the window sills and the recessed entrances.
The house picks up on some of these elements to have a conversation with the Victorian terrace, but not to imitate them. We try to have a contextual approach; we do not believe that every building has to be an icon for the sake of it. We believe that the best architecture should have some sort of meaning and talk to people.
Essentially, the concept was to create a series of brick bonding types and insert oak panels between them. We have three brick bonding types; the vertical staggered, the horizontal staggered and the stack bonding. The stone copings help to divide the bricks up. Internally, the oak becomes fixed furniture. All the furniture is bespoke to help fix the layout due to the size of the house.
The materiality of the building was very important. Brick, antique brass and oak have been used, which all have the inherent quality of getting better with age. There are also moments where some of the steelwork and concrete is exposed, telling you how the building is constructed.This is our first new build house and we are testing our ideas for future projects.