houses make poor use of the available space. The practice’s aim, therefore, was to examine how they could much better utilise the site, without losing valuable living space. “If you took a typical terraced house along that street, they’re not very efficient,” Shanley explains. “So what we were looking at doing was intensifying the use and densifying that suburban area to allow for more residential homes in that same format.” As intended, the nine homes they fitted onto the site utilise the space far more than traditional homes would have done. “If you took the same plot width along Revelstoke Road there’s only three or four homes,” Shanley says. Yet surprisingly, the new homes are “actually really large compared to the London Plan guidelines,” he explains. “They’re oversized.” The nine units comprise five duplexes across the basement and ground floor levels, while four single-storey flats occupy the first and second floors. All nine dwellings have access to inset balconies and terraces. “They get quite generous external spaces,” says Shanley.

The duplexes’ bedrooms are located on the basement level – a tactical decision, he explains, due to their reduced need for natural light. “It’s the inverse of the traditional way of entering and going up to the bedrooms,” he says. These bedrooms also benefit from access to a light well terrace area.

On the ground floor, the kitchens are in the bay at the front, which as Shanley says, “mirrors the Victorian arrangement.” An open plan layout means this connects with a large living/dining area at the back, which leads out to a higher terrace area. The flats above stretch across the width of the build- ing, with two occupying three bays and the others occupying two. The bedrooms sit at both the front and back on one side of the flats, while the kitchen/living/dining area occupies the other and “replicates almost exactly what’s happening on the ground floor,” explains Shanley.

Getting the look right

The designers’ challenge was creating these innovative spaces while still providing something harmonious to the existing street. “We took some datums across the site,” says Shanley. “Continuing the urban grain along the street defined the front line.” They also stuck to the same line along the back, and looked at the width of the bay windows along the rest of the road. “If you took those as a jelly mould, essentially


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