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Client / RIBA London
Budget / Confidential
Stage / RIBA C

Finalist

Published in GQ 2011

The continued success of 18th & 19th Century terraced housing can be attributed to many things; not least familiarity & cultural acceptance; however it is clear that their intrinsic simplicity and flexibility of design is fundamental to their popularity and relevance. This proposal for a future townhouse looks directly to these antecedents, and seeks to apply some of the lessons that can be learned in a way appropriate to current regulations, aesthetics and technical and economic concerns.

The design characteristics of Georgian and Victorian urban housing – and by turns of this proposal – can be broadly considered in relation to the overall effect of the terrace on the public domain, and on the specific design of an individual townhouse.

In relation to the townscape the proposal is intended to be successful as a single unit amongst existing housing, or used more or less uniformly across a new development. The scale and materiality has been chosen to compliment exiting settings, integrating with existing urban environments, whilst also providing the opportunity for personalisation through colour and planting.

Perhaps the most important aspect of the design in townscape terms is the sober commonality of approach to the street side elevations in contrast to the offer of formally more complex, informal and ad-hoc rear aspects. This distinction is key to historic terraces where the public face forms the backdrop to civil life, while the interior and rear aspects offer a gradient of private, informal and fundamentally liveable spaces.

The houses have clearly demarkated elevational elements that can be painted according to the wishes of individual household owners [or for community preference]; part of the joy in many urban terraces is the subversion of commonality of form through colour.