Church Walk

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Location: Stoke Newingon, Hackney

Client: Annalie Riches and David Mikhail

Project Year: 2012

Cost: £500k - £2m

Residents benefit from a variety of outdoor spaces. In addition to courtyard gardens at the rear, the three generous 10m2 terrace roofs step up in a ziggurat form and orient south to provide an elevated place to enjoy the wider views and the light, as well as an unexpectedly animated and verdant streetscape.

At the heart of each dwelling is a double height family room. It gets good natural light, with windows looking north, plus clerestory glazing at the terrace level above. Living rooms address the street, providing surveillance and security. The rear ‘concertina’ elevation acts both to provide oblique views that prevent overlooking, and also to avoid a potentially overbearing and acoustically reverberant wall to the neighbours.

Materials are intentionally taken from a limited palette, with white oiled Siberian larch, arranged board over board giving a ‘corduroy’ effect, a light buff coloured brick set in a flush white lime mortar giving an homogenous ‘cast’ feel to the street facade, recalling the ubiquitous London stock brickwork of Georgian London, and a large gauge expanded aluminium mesh, finished like the windows in anodized bronze; individually robust materials, but which together with the wildflower roofs, seek to achieve a new delicacy and lightness.

At the rear, brick gives way to a much softer and lighter feel, with whitened Siberian Larch taken right down to low brick plinth walls.

Internally the theme of whitened wood and muted shades continues. Instead of the usual shadow-gaps and minimal detailing, here a more robust, traditional architectural language is used, which was considered more suitable for a development; architraves, lined window reveals and internal sills, tall skirting boards and solid wide plank floors, staircases and joinery.

Construction is of simple load bearing concrete block and timber floors and roofs with the minimum use of steel beams for the wider spans.

Development of this Brownfield/ Urban site with many neighbours in close proximity required a consultation process which informed the respectful and careful modelling of the scheme to minimise any negative impact on its surroundings, particularly with regards to loss of light and overlooking. We utilised the BRE guideline to daylight process to establish acceptable build volumes. Planning was obtained in 2011 after officer recommendation at planning committee, at which we also spoke.

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