Strata & Lantern House

A pair of new-build individual villas overlooking Richmond park directly responding to their surrounding context

The starting point for this proposal was maximising the potential of an existing plot, dividing it into two to create two large and individually designed family dwellings. Due to the context of the location, to enable the addition of another house to the plot the Planners wanted the two to be distinct from each other and read as individual houses as is characteristic of the setting.

The houses have been designed to read as a pair of individual villas, sharing a similar scale and layout, however each being distinct from the other. They express themselves very differently through their materiality and form, responding to the particular constraints of each house’s respective specific contexts on either side and the varying architectural styles of the surrounding area.

Due to the sensitive nature of the site, the design was primarily driven by the need to sit comfortably with the neighbouring properties, one of which is listed. The tallest parts of both houses have been positioned in the middle of the plot, with pitched roofs that slope down towards the respective boundaries, to ensure the new development does not crowd the setting of the neighbouring homes.

The house nearest the listed building, Strata, features long sloping roofs and a bold, simple chimney stack. It reads as a contemporary dwelling, yet references both its historical context and the Arts and Crafts housing in the wider area.

The other house, Lantern, has less meaningful constraints with its particular situation and this has been embraced by adopting a bolder architectural language. A ceramic louvred façade provides a degree of shading from the sun and privacy to its neighbours. And the staggered arrangement of the massing combined with the interplay of the pitched forms allows light to penetrate deep into the plan form and create and activated atrium where activities and relationships, both visual and thematic can overlap, intersect and be enjoyed.

The outcome is a set of houses that respond meaningfully and directly to their corresponding adjacencies but still sit together in a coherent way. They both maintain their own sense of identity and independence and manage to sit harmoniously side by side rather than competing for attention.