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Thornlands

Making the most of a narrow plot

At first glance a long narrow infill site, (as little as 9m wide), may appear to have limited design possibilities. However, our view is that every physical problem like this presents an opportunity to create something original, a building that totally fits the site.  The easy solution would be to build a small bungalow but what would that say about the developer, architect or indeed the state of our culture?

Following an intense design process, (including not a little burning of midnight oil), the form and layout of the house began to take shape.  The first problem with this site was how to bring in natural light, particularly to the middle of the building.  This was compounded by the need to avoid overlooking of adjoining houses.  Our solution was to consider the house as two narrow wings, pulled apart to create more window area and offset by 90 degrees.  The smaller wing contains a kitchen / dining room on the ground floor and a bedroom and ensuite bathroom on the first floor.  A cylindrical circulation core engages the two rectangular volumes and links the different parts of the house together. The larger wing steps down in level to follow the natural contours and includes a study and the main living room, which consequently has a higher ceiling height to increase the sense of space. Above this are two further bedrooms and a bathroom.

The approach to the building is via a ramp, under a covered way which links the house to the garage and provides a dry transition from car to home.  Upon entering one is greeted by the circular hall / stairwell, into which natural light floods via a glass roof.  The interaction of curved and straight lines continues externally with a veranda that wraps around the exterior of the circulation core on the private side of the house.  Both the master bedroom and the living room have floor to ceiling corner glazing, the position of which avoids overlooking issues with neighbouring properties but ensures the house makes the most of the available views over the garden and beyond.

Client:  Mr Mills
Status: Submitted for planning
Value: £ undisclosed