Unit One Architects has turned a disused London lot into a row of dwellings with energy-saving features to meet the Level 4 Code for Sustainable Homes. Located behind a historic neighborhood of terraced Victorian houses in northern London’s Harringay Ladder district, the Cozens Place properties include solar panels, energy-efficient insulation and semi-permeable drainage to sustainably manage rainwater.

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On the left side, outdoor furniture on patio beside brick home. On right, glass doors of brick home opening to outdoor patio.

Originally a residential area, this spot was hit by a V1 bomb strike during World War II. In the years following, the neglected commercial site sat unoccupied, morphing from a back-land plot into garages and eventually a working scrapyard. The disused site became a hot-spot for criminal activity because of its lack of safeguarding and general isolation. In 2013, the land was purchased through auction by Reve Developments, and planning permission was gained to transform the site back into its initial purpose. Unit One Architects designed the set of row-style homes so that the site couldn’t continue to be cut through on foot, therefore dissuading criminals and improving security for the surrounding area as well.

Related: War ruins are reborn as a sustainable home in Lebanon

bright kitchen with white cabinets and white counters
White office desk in room with brick wall

Cozens Place consists of three two-bedroom homes with thoughtfully landscaped, private front and back gardens, off-street parking and split-level open-floor plans. The included solar panels are concealed with a 45-degree roof pitch on the top of the second house, which can be accessed by the operable skylight. Apart from the high-quality insulation, the buildings also feature a high level of air-tightness and built-in underfloor heating. Bricks were used in the profile to match the Victorian buildings located behind the new homes.

gray sofa and white coffee table
large bed with dark bedding

The houses were also positioned on an east-west axis to connect internal and external spaces. This allowed optimal light to shine into the habitable rooms, no matter what time of day, while making the homes feel more expansive, regardless of the narrow width of the building plot.

+ Unit One Architects

Photography by Charlie Birchmore Photography via Unit One Architects

white dining table near open glass door
patio furniture on patio outside a brick home lit from within at night