This project is on the longlist for the RIBA 2016 House of the Year Award.
Project DescriptionFROM RIBA:
The existing four storey mews house suffered from a dark interior due to only having windows to the front despite being 8m deep. The master bedroom and en-suite on lower ground enjoyed no natural light and the bedrooms on top floors felt disconnected and underused due to the tiny spiral stair at the rear of the building.
Coffey Architects moved the stair to the centre to avoid corridors taking up valuable space and approached the whole project as one large piece of joinery adding clarity to the and connectivity to the whole house. At the centre a stair pierces four floors of accommodation in a spectacular burst of light. This staircase is also the organisational structure bringing a rationale to the planning and layout of the house.
Its open treads in connection with the glazed landings and the glazed roof above allow natural lighting to enter at the centre of the plan. Additionally translucent sliding doors are added so the rooms enjoy natural light even when the doors are closed. The living area and the master bedroom and en-suite has been swapped around. A glass floor has been introduced to the front of the house on the ground floor allowing natural light to the living room on the lower ground.
The detailing is exquisite, the warmth of the oak timber brings a tactile quality which is further enhanced by the sliding doors, which with an inner layer of rice-paper sets up illusionary views across the plan. The glass-floored light wells further enhance the illusion of depth and perspective as one moves vertically through the house. The white painted textured inner brick skin helps with the refraction of the light, adding to a kaleidoscope effect. This lining cleverly conceals many of the services.
A fine marriage of planning, control of light and rigorous detailing has very cleverly multiplied the use of space to create a family home well beyond the client’s aspirations.