House, Malmesbury

AEM Architects, Malmesbury, 2002


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First floor courtyard balcony, lit from perimeter 

Alan Williams (website)     Download Original

  • First floor courtyard balcony, lit from perimeter    
  • Ground floor entrance and bedroom     
  • View from the living area: glass-topped partitions (plus rooflights) bring light to the rear range of spaces.  To the right is the courtyard balcony    
  • Kitchen with locally made joinery    
  • Head of the stair at first floor (the lift is behind this).jpg    
  • Ground floor plan    
  • First floor plan    
  • Exploded site diagram    

Once a shed, used variously as workshops and for storage, the remodeling created a private residence from a constrained initial footprint

The enclosure of the site means that the only access to daylight and views is from the street or the roof, so manipulation of daylight was a key element of the design. When entering from the street the open floor reveals the columns of the steel frame, set inboard from the edge of the plan on concrete pads on bedrock, avoiding neighbouring footings.

The few built spaces on the ground floor are a stair core, including passenger lift, and a guest bedroom set adjacent to an open courtyard, which brings sky light down to this level. There are also narrow light slots at other points between the new building and existing party walls.

On the first floor much of the layout is open-plan, looking on to the front balcony and courtyard. South-facing, the balcony is protected both by a yellow retractable awning and by heavyweight horizontally sliding/folding timber screens, which, when closed, let through a barn-door-like striped light. The view from the balcony is over rooftops to the valley beyond.

The undulating roof had to follow the shape of the original shed's accumulated roof planes. The clever use of this folded plate was to help daylight penetration.


  • Begun: Feb 2002
  • Completed: Oct 2002
  • Floor area: 170m2
  • Sector: House
  • Procurement: Minor Works 1998
  • Address: Malmesbury, SN16, United Kingdom

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