The Garden House is a new 179 sq m house at the far end of the rear garden of a Victorian house in London. A modern conundrum was the catalyst for the creation of the new annex - the immediate need of a newly married couple bringing two families together, requiring additional space to accommodate seven children.
The design was driven by three challenges: the clients’ ambitious requirement for increased space; need to incorporate compulsory flood-proofing measures due to the site’s close proximity to the River Thames; and complying with planning restrictions to prevent overlooking neighbouring properties.
Replacing a potting shed and greenhouse, the new house comprises five bedrooms, three bathrooms, a study and a kitchen/living room. The garden was excavated to create a high-sided watertight concrete courtyard, increasing the floor plate of the property without affecting the single storey appearance at garden level. A bridge bisects the white box and marks the entrance to the property. Living areas at courtyard level benefit from full height glazing; bedrooms are arranged at first floor level in clean white volumes that gently ‘float’ above the glazing. Internal lightwells and rooflights ensure bedrooms are flooded with natural daylight. Top lit hallways and bathrooms connect the volumes.
The sunken courtyard, characterised by white-pigmented concrete walls and floor, defines The Garden House, lending it an exotic sensibility. Sliding doors open up the corner of the house offering a seamless transition to a tranquil enclosed landscape in which to escape London life.