BackLand House

A squeeze-me-in newbuild, London

        Opportunities to develop a new build house in London are rare and when they arise they usually land on very small plots. This one was no exception and the house needed to squeeze itself between back-to-back gardens while finding a way to create space for peaceful living, respecting existing neighbouring houses.

        Not too dissimilar to when you find a free seat on the underground train at rush hour, in the middle of a 3-seat banquette, making your way in, trying not to upset those who are already comfortably seated.

        On the tight site enclosed by garden walls, we found space for a two-bed house, sunken half a level into the ground to minimise impact on the neighbours. The envelope of the house was determined by existing garden walls and as such it was not possible for any windows at ground floor, the resulting inward looking living space needed outlook. A small patio, tranquil like a zen garden acts as a lightwell, while even more daylight comes in from a skylight running the length of the house.

        A large window above the stairs is also used to bring more light deep into the ground floor. The landing on the first floor is used as a chance to create a bit more sociable space with a window seat. The bedroom upstairs are like most other bedrooms.

        Practicality of construction, the restricted access means that we have to plan with care and everything has to be manually transportable. The logistics of small elements and site storage is critical for the build, due to start mid-2019.

Status: Construction 2019
Structural Engineer: Foster Structures
Building Control: Hackney