Covert House

DSDHA, London, 2014

 

Subscribe now to instantly view this image

Subscribe to the Architects’ Journal (AJ) for instant access to the AJ Buildings Library, an online database of nearly 2,000 exemplar buildings in photographs, plans, elevations and details.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

 

    Download Original

  •     
  •     
  •     
  •     
  •     
  •     
  •     
  •     
  •     
  •     
  •     
  •     
  •     
  •     
  •     
  •     
  •     

A two-storey semi-underground house entirely shielded from street view, set behind a terrace-lined residential block.

Deborah Saunt and David Hills of DSDHA set out to design their home as a testbed for their ideas on sustainability. Their experiments – carried out under restrictive Conservation Area planning conditions – resulted in an unorthodox, semi-underground house that challenges what it means to design a contemporary domestic space.

The two-storey house is a box-like form of two colliding white cubes, entirely shielded from street view, set behind a terrace-lined residential block in Clapham, south London. Planning constraints limited the house to a single-storey height, so DSDHA decided to partially lower the structure within its garden plot. The pavilion-like exterior belies a spacious interior, resulting from generous ceiling heights and an open-plan ground floor that distributes the kitchen as well as the dining and living room areas. A lower floor is accessed via a white concrete stair and is divided into smaller private bedroom and bathroom spaces, which can all be entered off an informal living area.

The project began in 2007 with the purchase of an old house with a large overgrown garden. Two applications and an appeal later, DSDHA finally won permission to build in 2010.

Covert House is a case study on the potential for unlocking backland sites and creating architectural opportunities that subtly densify our residential areas. It responds to the urban necessity of building more houses close to the city centre without encroaching on the amenity of existing private gardens. Allowing for more well-designed houses to be built in existing private backland sites may be one way for people to develop the assets they own while also releasing some of their equity.

Data

  • Begun: 2012
  • Completed: 2014
  • Floor area: 128m2
  • Sector: House
  • Procurement: Bespoke
  • Address: Clapham Old Town , London, SW4, United Kingdom

Professional Team

AJBL Sponsor

SAS International

SAS International is a British manufacturer of interior products

Find out more