Cloister Corner

nimtim architects, London, 2020


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A family home created within a ground floor flat with a tiny footprint in South London

Our clients considered the cultural and social value of their community to be irreplaceable and it was crucial that they could stay in the area. They were therefore committed to finding a way of making their existing flat work for them. The restricted size and overshadowed nature of the site required a unique response to create a 4-person family home.

We spent time discussing their requirements and learning their unique personalities and family dynamics. Through this process, we understood that private spaces could be small and intimate whilst shared family spaces should provide a variety of atmospheres and levels of intimacy but did not need to be clearly defined by function. We identified the opportunity to extend significantly along the Eastern boundary of the site as it bordered the rear yard’s of the commercial buildings along the main road and would not impact on neighbouring daylight or amenity. This allowed us to extend the envelope of the flat providing light and air to all of the bedrooms and shared spaces. A glazed gallery, framed by stained accoya mullions, runs along the edge of the new addition connecting the children’s bedrooms to the rest of the house.

Crucially it also provides a visual connection to a new patio, intended as an additional ‘outside room’ allowing family life to spill out seamlessly. The roof of the children’s bedrooms rises steeply from the boundary to provide high level clerestory glazing into each space. Our client described this part of the house as like ‘the corner of a benedictine cloister’.

The living space flows around the bedrooms with loosely defined areas for cooking, sitting, eating. Materially, shared areas are neutral and bright. Bespoke joinery throughout maximises storage space within the parameters of the small footprint.

*Contract sum of £139,274.28 excl. VAT and professional fees

Photography by Megan Taylor


  • Begun: Aug 2019
  • Completed: Jan 2020
  • Floor area: 88m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £192,443
  • Funding: Private
  • Tender date: May 2019
  • Procurement: Traditional
  • Address: London, SW8, United Kingdom