Text description provided by the architects. This development of six houses occupies a former derelict yard in the heart of the Ravenscourt and Starch Green Conservation Area, next to Ravenscourt Park. The scheme had to resolve a tight site, overlooked by neighboring properties and next to a locally listed terrace. The solution is a contemporary response to the local vernacular, with five three-storey houses forming a terrace that steps forward incrementally along its length. A sixth, two-storey, house is built within the walls of Latymer House, which once stood on the site.
The houses are entered from a cobbled courtyard, which provides six parking spaces and cycle storage for up to 12 bikes. This leads to a lush landscape of private and communal gardens beyond the dwellings, designed by eminent landscape designers Bradley-Hole Schoenaich, creating a beautiful setting for both the surrounding properties and the development itself.
The terrace is detailed in buff-coloured brick with shallow-pitched zinc roofs and aluminium-framed windows. The dark zinc dresses down the western gable wall and the entrance porches. The sixth house is built from a darker brick to match the retained walls.
Spatially generous, with light-filled interiors, the houses are designed to be flexible in layout. A steel frame structure gives the flexibility to break through laterally, and there are no load-bearing elements between party walls, which allows for future change. Unusually, the houses were designed for the private rental market, which demands an appropriate robustness and the ability to be redecorated easily.
The buildings go beyond Code for Sustainable Homes (CfSH) level 4 through the upgrade of façade performance in line with Code 5 requirements. Excellent air tightness levels and thermal performance are achieved through the careful consideration of thermal bridging and solar gain, the use of heavily insulated wall and roof construction, and triple glazing. Each house includes a highly efficient mechanical ventilation and heat recovery system and boiler. High levels of acoustic performance have been maintained and the lighting design seeks to maximize the use of natural daylighting minimizing the need for artificial lighting. The land prior to development was of inherently low ecological value – it has been greatly enhanced through careful consideration and inclusion of large areas of private and shared soft landscaping, as well as bird and bat boxes that are incorporated into the façades. Rainwater is collected and used for external automated irrigation of the landscaped areas.
This development has been given a RIBA National Award 2017 and a Housing Design Award