This new-build, two-bedroom home shows what it’s possible to achieve on a constrained plot, as long as careful consideration is given to planning, context and materials. The backland site sits behind a behind a butcher’s shop on busy Turnpike Lane, accessed only via a 1m-wide covered passageway between retail premises.
A pair of offset volumes are each topped with a pyramid-shaped sedum roof, each punctuated by a rooflight, which align thanks to the pyramids’ asymmetrical form. The unusual roofscape’s intention was to give neighbours a more pleasing view to look down on, rather than the existing jumble of ad-hoc retail and restaurant extensions. The offset volumes create two external spaces – a courtyard entrance, and an amenity courtyard to the rear where the best sun is captured. The two opposite courtyards illuminate the bedrooms and living space, and provide two different aspects.
An external materials palette of handmade red brick and oak (used alongside white stone cills and black steel railings and brise-soleils) is continued internally, and the building’s construction is easy to read thanks to its expressed structure and materiality. A central living/dining/kitchen space spans the two pyramids, which each feature coffered glulam roofs topped by rooflights with hanging timber ‘chandeliers’. The coffered timber roof steps up to 3.5m at its highest point, making modestly sized spaces feel grand.
Satish Jassal Architects took the project from planning to completion, including all design and project management aspects. Many of the design and construction decisions were dictated by the constrained site access, with all materials and equipment needing to fit through the 1m-wide passageway.