Location: Highgate, London, England.
Architect: Carmody Groarke.
Initially, a new family home was to be built in place of an existing sizable, detached Edwardian house. The old house was in need of repairs and displayed a way of life that was far more appropriate for existence than a century ago. Its benign tone and quality allowed it to blend in with the ordinary suburban streetscape, and the neighbourhood was always going to be wary of any building that stood out from the rest of the area’s context.
The new detached family home that is the result establishes a strong connection between its surroundings, its outward shape, and the layout of its interior areas. The house’s elevations and spatial definition of public and private are both distinct. From front to back, the handling of interior-exterior thresholds varies significantly in scale and proportion, depending on each room’s physical and visual relationship to the street, the gardens, and the Highgate Wood beyond. In order to reference the nearby vernacular architecture, the front elevation is divided into three closely spaced, slanted gables of varied heights, completing a geometric scale step between the construction lines of neighbouring homes. With larger windows and terraces connecting within, the back elevation contrasts in character.