31/44 Architects completes a speculative development on an end-of-terrace plot in south London
Red House, designed by 31/44 Architects for developer Arrant Land and located in East Dulwich, south London, takes its name from the warm red brick which is evident in the framing of openings, banding and cornerstones of houses in the adjoining terrace, but which is used here as the main facade material.
Photo: The Modern House
Its neighbours form a Victorian terrace typical of London’s suburbs, and the house shares some of the visual language of the pattern-book brick Victorian houses, such as ornamental arched entrances and horizontal banding, but it is designed in a contemporary idiom and terminates the terrace quite distinctly, both referencing and evolving its character and rhythm.
The arched entranceway that features in neighbouring houses is transformed into a large window onto a double-height hallway, while the entrance door is modestly set back within a grey monochrome angled recess. The window is frameless, the arch is stripped of detail and the span is achieved with a precast, pigmented concrete panel. The relief patterning in the panel is reminiscent of the decorative tiling found in the gables of Victorian houses.
The site was formerly occupied by an end-of-terrace garage. The plan is designed with skewed spaces and a dropped ground floor to fit a spacious three-bedroom house, over three floors and with flexible reception spaces, onto a tight brownfield plot without compromising the privacy of occupants or neighbours.
Photo: Rory Gardiner
On entering the double-height hall/atrium, a short flight of steps descends to ground level, where the plan opens out to a kitchen/diner and two reception spaces. A central glazed courtyard and rear courtyard bring natural light and the outdoors deep into the plan, creating a series of connected spaces interspersed with pockets of daylight and greenery, which can be enjoyed in all seasons.
Photo: Rory Gardiner
The open-plan living spaces are unified with a black concrete floor and animated by a wood-burning stove housed within the exposed concrete plinth of the chimney, whose red brick stack rises up beyond the roofline, tethered to the house by concrete supports.
An oak staircase, whose extended banisters recall the Secessionist designs of Josef Hoffmann, is top-lit by the front window. It leads up to the two bedrooms and a bathroom on the first floor, and a master bedroom with en-suite shower room at the top of the house.