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 metres, and the building footprint is 3.6 x 8.6 metres. It was a challenge to get a house on such a small footprint. Due to overlooking issues we were only allowed to put windows to the side and to the front not to the rear.
The budget was very tight, and the final contract value was only £170,000. The same price as an extension in most of London. We worked very closely with the contractor to achieve this price, and produced a full construction package for tender. The site terminates a terrace of strong 19th-century Victorian townhouses. What is interesting about the existing Victorian townhouses is 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 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.
The concept really was to create a series of brick bonding types and insert oak panels between them. We have three brick bonding types the vertical staggered, horizontal staggered and 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 and the use of brick, antique brass and oak. They all have an inherent quality that they actually get better with age. There 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 in a way we are testing our ideas for future projects.The client has been very good he let us manage the process and was supportive. He really loves the house and had become very protective over it.