The British Homes Awards

115-117 WHITECROSS STREET, LONDON

The awards judges had plenty to say about the winner in this category. They liked the house’s plan, its strong form and identity, and the contrasting materials of its exterior. They said the end result was: “imaginative and interesting, making clever use of an awkward site”. The house sits on a site in a busy London street in a
conservation area. The site has been in the same
family ownership for a century and a half and
contained several buildings, but their size and
condition would not meet the needs of the present
owner and their young family. The client therefore
briefed architect Project Orange to: replace and
redevelop an existing building to the rear of the site as
the new family home; upgrade and renovate the
buildings facing the street and convert them to rental
apartments; and retain and improve the existing
ground floor commercial premises. The new house
was to provide almost three times the floor area of the
building it replaced.
The new house is orientated with an open aspect
towards the park, replacing a previously blank wall with
large areas of glazing to optimise light and outlook
while safeguarding privacy. Living areas are free
flowing, but use changes of level and structural
elements to delineate zones for sitting, eating, cooking
and working. The complex form of the new structure
also allows for the creation of private terraces on three
levels, providing amenity space for the family. All levels
are linked by a dramatic series of stairs with outlooks
over park, alley, terraces and roofscape.
Enclosure and openness are reflected in the materials
of the envelope. A sense of security and protection is
given by the robust copper cladding that extends to
the ground floor level entrance. However, the shell
does not form an impenetrable armour, and only
partially wraps the house. The remainder reflects a
softer and more domestic aesthetic, being clad in
hand split oak shakes and reclaimed brick.
The project has been delivered with a clear
environmental strategy, reducing energy use with a
super-insulated envelope, integrating solar energy
generation and specifying low impact building
products. The end result reflects the client’s needs
while preserving a valuable historical legacy of
continuing site occupation.

ARCHITECT:

Project Orange
Address:
2nd Floor Block E
Morelands
5-23 Old Street
London
EC1V 9HL
Tel: 020 7566 0410
Website: www.projectorange.com
Contact: Helen Woodcraft