Catching Sun House
Nestled between existing garden walls in Walthamstow, London is a long and narrow piece of land bought by founder of Studioshaw at auction. The four year project delivered a small but complex house meeting an exacting brief of a low maintainance, low energy house. We enjoy the challenge of awkward sites – they need a lot of thinking. The plot is surrounded on all sides by existing houses and gardens, so where the sunlight and views would be was the focus.
The London Plan stipulated 50m² of external space be included. So we created three courtyards, accessed by glazed sliding doors that become an extension of the internal spaces.
The solid concrete blockwork base engages with the neighbouring victorian garden walls and a timber roof, precisely angled to capture direct sunlight at different times of day and year, adds height and spatial interest to the internal spaces giving clipped views of sky. The view from the first floor is expansive – looking out over lush gardens and big skies.
The practice has a philosophy of low energy and low impact design, so there is no gas, an air source heat pump and minimal use of materials – which are simple, raw and exposed; concrete floors, blockwork walls and timber. There is no paint, plasterboard or other finishes.
We decided against a main contractor opting instead to work with a series of specialist sub-contractors, fabricators and joiners to build a bespoke house that represents the clients personality – including a first floor snug containing floor cushions, an outdoor bath and a kitchen extractor fit for lots of grilling.