As urban populations grow, we’ll be increasingly challenged to live communally, and in denser settings. This pair of homes in east London could be a model for a lifestyle spent in closer proximity, with its opportunistic reuse of an unpromising brownfield site, and shared outside space.
The project combines a new-build five-bedroom house and an extension to an adjacent maisonette for two related families who wished to live close together. The form of the new-build home is generated from a challenging set of practical conditions – rights of light, a large sewer running below and multiple party walls – but most importantly a desire to maximise outdoor space and internal light.
From the front door there is a vista through a small external court to a fireplace in the living room beyond. The hallway is the kitchen, the ‘captain’s bridge’ at the heart of the home. The efficient open plan steps irregularly so that each space flows yet feels distinct from the next. An external deck links this house to the adjacent extended maisonette through the combined rear gardens. With the fence between the plots removed, kids and adults move fluidly between the houses, sharing meals and childcare. We’ve noticed that the families’ open door policy extends to local kids from the estate, so it feels as though these new homes are rooted in their community rather than gentrified impostors.
Despite both projects being one-offs, bespoke to their clients and designed with spirit and care, we built them to an economic budget using standard materials and construction techniques drawn from speculative housing. This approach, together with the repeatable spatial layout, means that the house could potentially be scaled up in collaboration with a developer into a row – or other configuration – of multiple units.