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Catching Sun House

Project: Catching Sun House

Project facts

Client: Private
Date: Completed 2020
Location: Walthamstow, London
Size: 114m²
Cost: £400,000

Project description

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.

Project images

View from roof of neighbouring house showing the building in it’s Victorian context. The the west facing facade is catching the afternoon sunlight.
The entrance to the house, viewed from the adjoining street.
View of recycled aggregate fair faced blockwork and timber clad roof that forms from the entrance passage way, with a glimpse of the neighbouring house in distance.
View of front entrance through living space to courtyard beyond
View of main dining and living space.
View of the living space from the adjacent main courtyard. The blockwork was carefully detailed to run continually from inside to outside, the fine glazed aluminum screens form a barely visible threshold.
Main bedroom showing glass box shower area and external courtyard containing a stainless steel bath.
Detail of kitchen area with clerestory window above, catching sunlight throughout the morning until late afternoon.
Orange staircase leading to first floor office and living space. This space was carefully designed to give space for the MVHR system and Air Source Heat Pump.
First floor living area containing the office and a lounge area with large bespoke floor cushions.
Exploded diagram showing blockwork base, timber frame and sloping roof forms and burned timber cladding.
Detailed Ground Floor Plan.
Two sections through the building showing the relationship between the neighbouring houses and the pitched timber roof forms.