Philip Stejskal Architects
Did you have any goals/guidelines for the project?
The parameters of this project were mainly related to its constrained site:
semi-detached to south
northern neighbour 0.5m from shared boundary
Our goal was to extract maximal amenity from this situation.
We did so through tall light scoops that secure north light at a high level and allow it deep into the plan in winter. We also carved a courtyard into the centre of site allowing flexibility of space and zones within zones to give a sense of a larger overall space.
For example, a day bed sits within a corridor leading around the courtyard- now it is no longer just a corridor and the daybed allows retreat even whilst remaining in the space with others (zone within zone).
Additionally cost was naturally also a significant constraint and led decisions all the way through.
Did you have any difficulties throughout the project?
A difficulty was the nature of the title, being ‘Built Strata’ gives the adjoining neighbour right to veto the project.
We had to get them on board fully to ensure they would approve our design so we presented drawings to them on several occasions and ultimately incorporated a tree well on the first floor at their request.
It was always amicable.
Tell us about the materials used:
Prior to this project we had the usual interest in honesty of materials, avoiding the use of plasterboard or render, etc. However, the parameters of this project called for a different approach, and we instead embraced the homogeneous finish to model space and light and ‘gather’ disparate functions and resulting form- internally using plasterboard, externally acrylic render on blue board.
What is the most notable aspect of this project?
The notable aspects are the light scoops, the way they define the exterior form of the project and internal spaces and their quality.
All images by Robert Frith