The homes’ orientation maximises both sunlight and privacy
RIBA National Award winner 2021
RIBA London Regional Award winner 2021
Stephen Taylor Architects for Baylight Properties
Contract value: £4m
Cost per m2: £6,645
This project creates four detached houses on an awkward triangular backland site, overlooked by multiple neighbours; the culmination of a decade of planning challenges dealing with both the principle and detail of this exceptionally tight scheme. The client’s brief demanded houses rather than flats, each with outdoor space; with buildings internally feeling like a series of spaces that could be read as a house.
The architect describes the plan’s geometry as ‘driftwood washed up on a beach’, but the buildings and, more critically, the spaces between, are clearly the result of meticulous calculation and thought and are incredibly successful. Each house has a front door and garden and the geometrically pure, gabled house volumes are all legible as they tumble and crease across the site. First-and ground-floor plans open up playfully into larger lower-ground living spaces, creating ways for daylight to penetrate. Light gently washes over them, the brick masses floating serenely above. The external material palette is minimal and appropriately domestic: brick, clay tiles, and windows carefully detailed with control, precision and modesty.
Inside, too, the palette is warm and textural, left neutral to allow owners to make their mark, and finished to a high standard. The way the design creates a sense of privacy in each of the homes is impressive, their orientations and openings carefully positioned to avoid overlooking.
These are four well-detailed and laid-out contemporary houses that respect their context and are loved by their residents. But it is the exceptionally skillful conception and expertly executed handling of the volumes on such a challenging site that truly set this project apart.