The back land site of the Tin House is entered from a modest London street through a ‘massive’ Soanian brick double-height arch – a gateway to a remarkable domestic inner world.
Creating a secluded place was a priority. The architects’ response was to develop a low, inward-looking, tranquil courtyard that is open to the south yet offers privacy, both visual and acoustic. The design is a composition of different pavilions: six earth-coloured metal-clad pyramidal top-lit forms. The Tin House maximizes space through these six interconnected pyramidal pods where the colour coated steel GreenCoat PLX BT was specified for the roofs and faćades. This gave cohesiveness to the separate but conjoined units allowing the project to create a dialogue with the warm, earthy London brick which surrounds the site. GreenCoat PLX BT features a Bio-based Technology (BT) with a substantial portion of the traditional fossil part replaced by a bio-based alternative like rapeseed oil. This unique, patented solution by SSAB reduces the environmental footprint of the house significantly.
This modest and utilitarian finish accentuates the monolithic and sculptural quality of the design. A calm rectangular pool of water allows for condensation cooling and the sun’s reflections from the water bring the fac¸ades to life. Each pavilion accommodates a room. Secondary spaces such as toilets and stairs are hidden within the capacious double walls of the links between pavilions, so that the final design reads as an enfilade of generous top lit spaces. The pavilions are gently moulded to make efficient use of the site.
The roof shape has a low contour and maximizes spatial volume. This source of light from above brings the spaces to life. The roof-lights can be opened and on warm days the stack effect ensures that fresh cool air is drawn in from above the pool. The Pantheon and the work of James Turrell have influenced the design of the top lit pavilions.
As one moves through the building the layout gives a changing enfilade of vistas and views, the geometric forms accentuated by the simple utilitarian finishes. The brick fireplace mirrors the entrance gateway in its scale and texture and acts as a ‘touchstone’ at the heart of the composition, grounding the house around a hearth.
The pavilions are super- insulated (250 mm of PU foam) and relatively airtight. A heat-recovery air system ensures energy efficient ventilation throughout the colder months. Full of inventiveness, the cleverly detailed thick walls contain the services. The house has a beautiful balance of delight and is obviously an uplifting and practical place to live.
Read more about the construction of the Tin House using SSAB Swedish Steel here: GreenCoat