With the city of London continuing to grow at an exponential rate, space for construction projects is at a premium and has to be utilised to the fullest. As a result, the capital is now home to an increasing number of innovative and unique architectural solutions that make the most out of the smallest spaces.
One such project is Hidden House, a private family home in South-West London, designed by LTS Architects. Created from two former workshop buildings and a retail space, Hidden House is exactly what its name suggests – with the internal space completely invisible from the street.
The ambitious redevelopment was dictated by the restraints of the site and yet the result is a contemporary home that has drawn widespread praise since its completion. In addition to a RIBA Award nomination, Hidden House was highly commended at the Evening Standard Awards with Outstanding Architectural Merit.
Project Architect Robert Haworth spoke to Premier Construction about the scheme and the challenges it posed:
“The planners from the outset of the project were quite clear about what they wanted so we had to remain in the envelope of the existing building. Within this parameter we had to create a three-bed, family home for the client to stay in the city. It was quite a challenge because the original design didn’t utilise the full potential of the site.
“The client wanted something that was luxurious but at the same time understated, light and airy. One of the benefits of the project was that the tight and difficult areas of the brief forced us to come up with creative solutions in terms of how we burrowed down into the ground and how we got light into these subterranean spaces. After that we had to make sure the light that went in didn’t create any overlooking issues from the house around.
“If you look at the imagery of the job, particularly in terms of the amount of houses around, there are approximately sixteen properties that all look into this space. It was quite a challenge keeping this family space private yet light at the same time. One of the other challenges on the project was trying to deliver the quality of detailing that we had rendered, illustrated and the client had bought into.”
The substantial rebuild and restructuring on the site has created a new sunken garden and atria, which help provide a flow of daylight to the lower level. This includes three double bedrooms including a large master suite with an en-suite bathroom. The main living areas are laid out as a sequence of linked open spaces.
The contemporary design of the space is a simple blend of exposed brick and oak that creates a natural aesthetic. Despite the hidden nature of the house, space internally is light and spacious rather than dark and constrained.
Along with main contractor Broseley, LTS Architects have created an environment that defies the logic of the dimension they inherited, in spite of planning restraints. The response to the house since completion has been overwhelming, with the plaudits received being well deserved.
“Everything seemed to align on this project in that we had a great client and a great contractor. Initially it was just great to deliver something that was a really high standard.
“Often with projects like this, once they’re finished the door is shut and the architecture is hidden behind lock and key. Being shortlisted and winning awards opens up the work to a new forum. Obviously it’s great for us but also the wider team that worked on the project.”
Established in 1996, LTS Architects are committed to design excellence, sustainable outcomes and the highest quality of service. With an extensive and diverse body of work, LTS constantly challenges ideas and solution to ensure the very best outcomes are achieved.