The Slot House

Sandy Rendel Architects, London, 2019


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The challenge of this project was to tease functional and delightful spaces out of an unpromising opportunity

The plot was a narrow 2.8m wide break in an existing terrace, bounded by flank walls on both sides, that had lain vacant for a number of years. We made a conscious decision to eschew a previous planning consent for a larger 3-storey house in favour of a more appropriate smaller 2-storey 1-bed scheme prioritising quality of space over minimising space standards and maximising value.

To fully exploit the constrained width, avoid loading the neighbouring structures and straddle shared utilities running under the site, the house was constructed using a lightweight steel frame on a piled slab. The steelwork was prefabricated as a series of portal frames that were craned down the alley and site-welded together. Given that every inch in such a narrow space is valuable we chose to fully weld the connections and express the frame internally, even utilising the depth of the steels to maximise the space.

Alongside the painted steel a simple palette of spruce plywood, douglas fir joists, terrazzo and cork flooring enriches the interior. Externally the timber framed walls are clad in handmade pewter glazed tiles. This self-build project had a long gestation and was fitted in around professional and family life. The design and construction were undertaken as time and money allowed. We worked closely with friend and joiner Michael Tye, to lead a small team of local subcontractors and employed specialist fabricators for certain key packages, completing a fair amount of the work ourselves.

The result is a unique and highly crafted home that is a testament to the commitment, effort and support of many people. It highlights the viability, both economically and spatially, of small brownfield sites to provide high quality sustainable development.

Photography by Jim Stephenson


  • Begun: Apr 2015
  • Completed: May 2019
  • Floor area: 64m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £224,000
  • Funding: Private
  • Procurement: Self-build with direct employed subcontractors
  • CO2 Emissions: 15.39kg/m2/year
  • Address: Peckham, London, SE15, United Kingdom

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