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House in a Garden London

House in a Garden
Written by Roma Publications

House in a Garden

A highly unusual dwelling: a house that is a roof and a hole in the ground.

The House in a Garden started out as a project on a plot of land the architects themselves intended to develop having been aware of the potential of the site for over 15 years. This involved the demolition of a 1960s bungalow and its replacement with a subterranean house. Once the lengthy planning process was completed, Gianni Botsford Architects sold the plot and their design to a private client who committed to making the House in a Garden into a home for himself.

In a hidden urban garden, Gianni Botsford Architects’ House in a Garden is a highly unusual dwelling accessed through a narrow passage alongside a 1840s Notting Hill villa, (a building Botsford had previously extended with a two-storey garden flat on the top two floors for his own home.)

The most visible component of the house from an external point of view is the pavilion like clad copper roof. It has a floating quality, set above a glass walled living room that enhances the light whilst also connecting the interior of it to the surrounding landscaped garden.

Copper recurs throughout the house, in surfaces such as the ground floor kitchen, and they add a subtle but warm tone to the interior, making it feel more ‘home’ than just design, and as it is a mineral mined from below ground it corresponds well with the idea of much of the house being shaped underground.

There are two levels below the ground floor; on the middle floor are the bedrooms, whilst the living area and a 10 metre swimming pool reside on the furthest floor. Lightwells and skylights were designed to optimise daylight, casting top light onto the lower ground floors, ensuring they got enough daylight. However, introducing daylight to a depth of eight metres proved a challenge. The site of the house is tight and also north facing, therefore, digital analysis tools were used to seek out the three dimensional possibilities that light gives, and this aided to the generation of the form and organisation of the building.

The contrast between the cool and warm tones of Douglas fir and carved Carrara marble added to the sensual quality of the underground space – as does the carefully studied play of light against darkness. As marble is quarried from the earth, it feels consistent with these spaces carved from a plot of urban land. In this way, materially it has a similar effect as the copper that is mined from Earth.

The House in a Garden builds on Gianni Botsford Architects’ earlier preoccupations with the manipulation of natural light throughout the day and through the seasons, enriching, enlivening and, ultimately, defining the nature of the architecture.

Gianni Botsford described the house:
“To build with light and darkness is to work with what a context gives you – a unique set of constraints and opportunities. Shaped and informed by the light and shadow that surround it, the roof’s tent like form creates a new place for life to occur in the house – one that turns its back on the large volumes surrounding it and embraces the site.”

The House in a Garden has been Shortlisted for a RIBA Regional Award London, and the winners will be announced on May 20th at an awards ceremony. It is the perfect opportunity to celebrate
with colleagues, clients and friends. The evening will start with a ceremony in the RIBA’s Jarvis Hall, followed by a drinks reception in the Florence Hall.

The RIBA Awards are regarded internationally as a mark of excellence, recognising the best architecture and architects. A RIBA Regional Award is given to a UK building for its regional importance as a piece of architecture.
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House in a Garden

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Roma Publications

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