British architecture firm Piercy & Company recently won a 2015 RIBA London Award for their beautiful and innovative Kew House. Inserted behind a 19th-century stable wall, the four-bedroom house is meticulously designed and clad in prefab weathering steel panels. The elegant home complements the historic architectural styles in southwest London’s Kew Green Conservation Area.
Kew House’s successful design is due in part to the collaborative architect-client relationship. The client, who is a structural engineer and boat-restorer, took a hands-on approach to specifying construction methods such as prefabrication, materials choice, and spatial organization. Every room of the house was carefully thought out, from spatial orientation and purpose, and mostly customized with built-in elements made by the client or the architects.
The design respects the historic surroundings by retaining the stone stable walls and replicating the scale and roof pitch of the neighboring buildings using continuously welded and prefab weathering steel sheets, with insulation bonded to its underside. The house is divided into two pitch-roof volumes, one for the children and the other for the adults, connected via a two-story glazed passageway with views of the street and garden. Natural light flows into the house through the glass-enclosed passageway and large windows, as well as through the perforations in the orange-toned weathered steel that create beautiful dappled light effects evoking an autumnal palette.
The modern and naturally lit interior is covered in white walls, oak veneer paneling, and Dinesen flooring. The bedroom spaces are located on the top floor of both wings, while the kitchen and dining areas are placed on the level below. A semi-sunken lounge is located on the opposite end of the house from the kitchen. The spacious basement includes a timber workshop, builder’s yard, and a children play area complete with a trampoline, slide, and astro turf.
“Kew House was an experimental build, driven by the architect’s and clients’ shared interest in a ‘kit-of-parts’ approach, prefabrication, and the self-build possibilities emerging from digital fabrication,” write the architects. “CNC milling and an on-site joinery workshop were used to create a bespoke fit-out that could be installed by the client and a small team of architecture graduates.”
Images via Piercy & Company