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Tin House

Henning Stummel Architects

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dmadsen, hanley wood, llc

Project Name

Tin House

Project Status



216 sq. meters


  • Structural Engineer: Michael Hadi Associates

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This project is on the longlist for the RIBA 2016 House of the Year Award.

Project Description

The back land site of the Tin House is entered from a modest London street through a ‘massive’ Soanian brick double-height arch – a gateway to a remarkable domestic inner world.

Creating a secluded place was a priority. The architects’ response was to develop a low, inward-looking, tranquil courtyard that is open to the south yet offers privacy, both visual and acoustic. The design is a composition of different pavilions: six earth-coloured metal-clad pyramidal top-lit forms. The cladding is a warm earthy colour, which is in dialogue with the surrounding stock brick buildings. This modest and utilitarian finish accentuates the monolithic and sculptural quality of the design. A calm rectangular pool of water allows for condensation cooling and the sun’s reflections from the water bring the fac¸ades to life. Each pavilion accommodates a room. The roof shape has a low contour and maximizes spatial volume. This source of light from above brings the spaces to life. The roof-lights can be opened and on warm days the stack effect ensures that fresh cool air is drawn in from above the pool. The Pantheon and the work of James Turrell have influenced the design of the top lit pavilions.

As one moves through the building the layout gives a changing enfilade of vistas and views, the geometric forms accentuated by the simple utilitarian finishes. The brick fireplace mirrors the entrance gateway in its scale and texture and acts as a ‘touchstone’ at the heart of the composition, grounding the house around a hearth.

The pavilions are super- insulated (250 mm of PU foam) and relatively airtight. A heat-recovery air system ensures energy efficient ventilation throughout the colder months.

Full of inventiveness, the cleverly detailed thick walls contain the services. The house has a beautiful balance of delight and is obviously an uplifting and practical place to live. The judges were all equally moved, delighted and inspired by this unexpected back-land jewel.
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