No. 551 . 22 February 2012 
ArchitectureWeek

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Photo: Nick Kane

Gap House, London

by John A. Flannery and Karen M. Smith

Placed improbably between a pair of historical listed buildings, the contemporary facade of Gap House is a mere 2.4 meters (7.9 feet) wide. This new-build four-bedroom family home, winner of the RIBA Manser Medal for residential architecture, was designed by architect Luke Tozer of Pitman Tozer Architects for himself and his family.

Situated in a conservation area in west London, the challenging site was used by the firm as a case study in energy conservation. Because the plot was constrained — it was originally an alleyway and a rear garden — the considered use of space was vital to the creation of a functional dwelling.

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Gap House grows wider and lower behind the adjacent row houses, accommodating a small but well lit courtyard. Photo: Nick Kane

The innovative design stacks three individual bedrooms in the narrowest section of the plot. These sleeping quarters are located on the street elevation. The natural light and ventilation to these rooms is directed and controlled by operable windows and louvered shutters.

The stucco rendered finish allows Gap House to blend seamlessly into the terraced street. However, the property's distinctive fenestration, shutters, and front door provide the new building with a deserved individual architectural identity.

Bedrooms and bathrooms are accessed by a central stairwell, which also acts as a light shaft. There is a gap between the stairs and the walls to enhance light transmission.

To the rear of the plot, the property is arranged as a series of cascading, projecting cubes, descending to a ground-floor reception area. This space, accommodating the kitchen, dining area, lounge, and study, merges with a light-filled outdoor courtyard.   >>>

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This article is excerpted from Eco-Urban Design by John A. Flannery and Karen M. Smith, copyright © 2011, with permission of the publisher, Springer.

 
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