The plot is a long and narrow piece of land behind established gardens. It has a north south orientation, tapering at either end.
A public footpath delineates the western boundary, beyond which the topography falls off dramatically. A gravel path of about 12ft width runs along the eastern edge. Adjacent properties have a right of way and most have erected garages. The site straddles the boundary between a suburban development and the natural beauty of the adjacent valley.
The existing neighbourhood has an established pattern of semi-detached houses, and we can adopt this for our scheme. The transition space between public and private sphere however needs to be managed more efficiently. To this end a continuous seven foot stock brick wall separates the access mews and the ground floors. The living rooms are orientated to look out over the valley. Because the footpath on the valley side is topographically lower, the ground floor and adjacent side gardens are completely private.
The entrances to the houses are cut out recesses, offering shelter and light. The area in front of the houses describes a crescent shape and creates a notion of community and of entering a more private sphere.
Within the houses the circulation areas and the bathrooms are on the east side – offering a buffer zone between living areas and access road. The design of the houses takes cues from the local cottage vernacular. The first floor and the steep roof are hung in traditional clay tiles. The shallow plan and steep roofs correspond to local vernacular building tradition, where the lengths of joisting determined the depth of plan. We are keen to facilitate owner occupied housing and all houses are modest and affordable two bedroom units with an efficient lay out.