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The site for this house in Dulwich had never been developed, and contained many trees that had grown wild. The trees inform every part of the design, from the placement and orientation of the house, to the vertical expression of the detailing, designed so that the house reads as vertical elements to blend in to the trees.
The concept for this backland house, completed in Summer 2014, began with a 100 year old pear tree, a remnant of the site’s history as a Victorian fruit orchard. The house has been built around this tree, creating an internal courtyard that brings light and air to the centre of the plan, while turning the house inward to remain private from the surrounding terraced houses.
The site is long and thin, and the layout is arranged around the changing light of the day, with the kitchen looking to the north east for morning light, the living areas looking south west onto the pear tree courtyard for light from midday, and the lowered snug in the centre of the building as a cosy retreat in the evening.
We wanted to preserve the character of the site and evoke its history through the building, which has been designed to blend into its wooded backland context. To this end there is a simple aesthetic concept to emphasise the vertical articulation of the building, with views through the building defined by slender vertical elements that echo the experience of looking through trees.
The house features bespoke, on-site crafted joinery made from oak veneered ply with brass detailing. Two handmade chandeliers, constructed from leftover gold aluminium sections from the cladding, hang in the double height void spaces at either end of the glass link.