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Highlever Road, W10

  Kensington & Chelsea, London       Complete       140 sq.m.       Signature House

This new house is located on a tight corner plot, formerly occupied by two lock-up garages, at the end of a 4 storey Victorian terrace within the North Kensington Conservation Area. The project takes forward our experience working on constrained sites, and transforming them into beautiful contemporary architecture

Following discussions with Kensington and Chelsea Planning Authority, the design was adapted to be no more obtrusive and visible from street level than the existing garages and boundary wall, projecting no more than 3 metres above ground level, with a sunken basement occupying the site footprint.

This design philosophy inverts the normal configuration of a house with three bedrooms in the basement around open light wells allowing light to pour down. These rooms benefit from full height sliding doors to access sunken garden terraces, designed by award-winning garden designer Paul Cooper. These sunny, light filled rooms belie their subterranean location.

Before After

At ground level the living, kitchen and dining areas form an open plan pavilion with full height glazed walls at the front and rear opening onto two private walled gardens, also designed by Cooper. A white rendered fin wall penetrates through the front facade, behind which the compact kitchen area is housed, a horizontal slit window gives views out into the landscaped garden.

The walls, floors and roof of the concrete framed construction act as a passive thermal store and the entire house has underfloor heating. With over two thirds of the house sunk below ground, then energy use for the house is reduced.