House on the End

1200 Works, London, 2019

 

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Photography by Lily Maggs, The Modern House and 1200 Works     Download Original

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Replacing unused garages, this end-of-terrace infill site development is a contemporary reinterpretation of the neighbouring terraces, complementing the streetscape and adding a House on the End

LAYOUT
The client brief focused on flexible, practical living, tweaked to their unique ‘day-in-the-life’ experience. On entering a coir-matted utility zone with bike storage, one then moves directly into the kitchen. The decision to flip the layout of the traditional terraced house was driven by the fact that 90% of day-to-day items entering or exiting the front door go to or come from the kitchen. Behind a polished concrete breakfast bar is an open-plan living and dining area, off which is the downstairs toilet and dog / post-bike-ride shower. The dog den is tucked under the blackened steel and birch stair. On the upper levels, stacked, cornered staircases minimise corridors, creating generously sized rooms. A ‘jack-and-jill’ style arrangement means the client’s large ensuite can become the family bathroom when the household grows. Until that point the first-floor second bedroom serves as a working-from-home office. The top floor ‘soft living’ area features a pitched ceiling with storage in the eaves and, as all services are ducted up to this level, is future-proofed as another potential bedroom and bathroom. Sliding partitions and open planning help to fulfil the potential of this tight site.

INTEGRATION INTO THE LOCAL CONTEXT
With a respectful understanding of the architectural styles of the historical heart of Brockley, the form and proportions of the bay windows are adapted into a folding of the façade while the white concrete banding continues the Victorian datums of the street along the elevation. The natural variety in the brickwork is broken by dark bronze fenestration and over panels, allowing for slim sightlines and maximising natural daylight to the interior. As the ground floor is sunken into its surroundings, these over panels conceal the structure behind, creating an optical illusion from the street where a three-storey building with generous ceiling heights fits into a typically two-storey terrace building volume.

CONSTRUCTION, MATERIALITY AND SUSTAINABILTY
The sunken nature of the house, coupled with the client’s desire for flexibility and intrigue in modern methods of construction, led the design team to develop a fibre-reinforced concrete frame design. By utilising the flexural strength of the product over 90% of the steel reinforcement was eliminated from the superstructure. This also reduced time on site and created efficiencies in thinner slabs and walls than would not be achievable with traditional reinforced concrete. The decision to expose the walls and soffit of the RC frame was driven by the client’s passion for raw materials and helped to maximise the floor to ceiling heights. All services are cast in to avoid wires or conduit detracting from the aesthetic. The muted greys of the exposed concrete and poured terrazzo floor, complemented by warm brass, blackened steel and limed timber created a limited palette of materials rigorously applied throughout the project. The concrete formwork grid of the RC frame relates directly to the birch ply sheets of the internal walls, and the tie holes set the sub-grid for the hanging of lights, artwork, and shelves. 1200 Works designed all the inbuilt furniture with the freestanding pieces and artwork created by the client or sourced specifically for them. The simple purity of self-finishing materials helps to create an honest aesthetic that is a pleasure to inhabit. This ‘raw is more’ philosophy allows inhabitants and visitors to understand the building’s construction, whilst not losing sight of important human-scale details. The huge reduction of steel reinforcement and significant proportion of GGBS used as cementitious replacement helps to reduce the embodied carbon of the concrete. The frame also creates a homogenous, near-airtight box, which, along with its thermal mass properties, does away with the need for any active cooling or MVHR system. This helps to achieve a SAP rating of 92+, or EPC A. This thermal mass, along with airtightness, durability and cooling via stack ventilation mean lower, more consistent, and non-volatile energy usage, reducing operational costs which greatly benefits the occupants. From the outside, House on the End seeks to complement the local streetscape, but within it challenges pre-exiting notions of suburban living, sustainability, and raw materials.

Annual CO2 emissions data (requested in kg/m2/year) was provided as follows: 0.64 t/year

Data

  • Begun: Oct 2018
  • Completed: Sep 2019
  • Floor area: 110m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £265,000
  • Funding: private
  • Procurement: Bespoke Construction Management
  • Address: Crofton Park, London, SE4, United Kingdom

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