Split house is a new-build three storey family home set into a steep hill in Sevenoaks, Kent. The site is set between two detached houses on a hill sloping down towards the North. The mass is split into two halves connected via a central glazed link envisaged as an atrium housing the staircase. The glazed link is set in from the main mass to create a small central courtyard bringing external green space into the centre of the plan. The levels in the two halves are staggered. In the Northern half of the building, they are set 1.2m below the level in the Southern half, following the slope of the hill. Each half of the building has three levels with staggered access via the central staircase, forming six distinct split levels. The glazed link allows direct sunlight to penetrate every room, even in the most Northern part of the building. To the rear, a sunken stepped garden with planting at multiple levels forms a dense green space beginning at the lower ground floor. The insertion of a central courtyard with a silver Birch tree, breaks up the deep plan of the building, injecting daylight right at the centre of the deep volume.
What was the brief?
To design a 400sqm, 5-bedroom family home on the site of a previous bungalow. Our client was looking for spectacular internal spaces and high quality detailing and construction to make a name as a developer.
What were the solutions?
Splitting the house into two volumes connected by a glazed link and staggering the levels within the two volumes created 6 distinct levels that allowed us to direct the sunlight into all the internal spaces.
Seeing sunlight inside the North facing bedrooms was mission accomplished!
What were the key challenges?
The site is a steep hill sloping down towards North. The combination of the deep plan required to meet the square meterage in the brief and the direction of the slope required an unusual solution to get daylight into the spaces.
Key products used:
Bricks by Strojer Tegl, a Danish brick Manufacturer
Glazing by Skyglze, UK
Light fittings mostely by Astra Group
Who are the clients and what's interesting about them?
The client was a company called Cannon Residential, who are a small UK based developer. They were very interested in the design and left us with a lot of freedom in developing it. They eventually asked us to act as construction managers for the project which led to forming a new company, London Atelier Projects which successfully delivered the project using small scale tradesman and local companies.
Their willingness to take on the risk of developing a unique and design led project led
What are the sustainability features?
The house is highly insulated and exceeds the Building regulations required performance. we installed a fully integrated MVHR system throughout the house and the bottom two floors have are heated through an underfloor heating system. A high performing system boiler provides the hot water and feeds the heating system. LED lights are installed throughout and the showers and taps all limit water consumption. The house was detailed and constructed to a high degree of air tightness. The combination of cross ventilation, the MVHR system and high solar gain limits the need for heating and there is no requirement for a mechanical cooling system. The bright and well-lit interiors significantly reduce the need for artificial lighting to be turned on.