The opportunity to design this house was unexpected and acted as a catalyst to begin our practice.
The site and scope promised much, combining two large terraces in Paddington into a single family home. The clients had only a few specific requirements: the new house needed to cope well with their large, busy family, it had to join the two distinct properties seamlessly and could in no way be ‘over-designed’ or fussy. Despite the scope, modesty was essential.
The central void in the design concept was crucial to the client’s enthusiasm. The scheme developed around this void, with the ground floor living areas opening on to the north facing garden while the views from the upper levels (specifically of the much loved orange tree) were controlled and focused. Most of the existing fabric was demolished, while the front facades were restored. These remain distinguishable from one another, giving few clues to the amalgamation of the properties beyond.
The primary material chosen for the new construction was brick, bagged and painted, common to modest architecture in the area. The massing of the project, clearly defined by the brick volumes, steps down and out towards the rear of the property, responding to program, the existing levels and the neighbouring terraces. The project challenges the nature of the brickwork, floating the largest plains above the sliding oak doors to the ground floor.
The interiors are calm with a very limited palette of materials. The warmth of the oak used throughout is balanced by the white set walls. Natural light, abundant on the ground floor, is carefully controlled along the circulation path of the upper levels.