Kew House by Piercy&Company in London fuses original and innovative features, with weathered steel sitting beside ageing brickwork. Two gables are linked by glass to create a large family home made up of two wings. A contemporary family home formed of two weathering steel volumes inserted behind the retained facade of a 19C brick stables, set within a conservation area on the doorstep of Kew Gardens.
“Kew House features two crisp weathering corten steel shells inserted behind the retained walls of a 19th century brick stables. The corten steel shells were manufactured by specialist fabricators CSI in Hull and craned into place on site, whilst the interior and furniture has been fabricated on site in a basement workshop, using a CNC machine. The house is divided into two distinct wings. The larger wing, housing day to day communal areas, is created by the steel insertion behind the retained stables gable end. The smaller wing, containing more private spaces and master bedroom, is clad fully in weathered steel and glass and is set back from the street. The two wings are connected by a transparent, glazed circulation link, which overlooks a secluded outdoor courtyard; a seamless and secure extension of the internal space.” – Piercy&Company
The layout is informal; rich with incidental spaces and unexpected light sources. A delicate glazed circulation link reveals the contrast between a rustic exterior and refined interior. Split into two wings, the simple plan makes the most of a constrained site and responds to the living patterns of the young family.
Approaching the design as a kind of built diagram of the way the family wanted to live, Piercy & Company created an internal landscape of alternative routes, levels, and spaces – many of which are aimed more at children than adults. Manufactured in Hull and assembled on-site, the two shells housing each wing are formed of 4mm-thick weathering steel – a hardworking combination of structure and facade.
The rustic weathering steel exterior is maintenance free, essential for the enclosed site, and softened by a patchwork of expressed welds and perforated panels. The simple plan makes the most of the constrained site, reduces the building’s mass in the streetscape, and responds to the living patterns of the family. The two rectangular wings each have living spaces on the ground floor and bedrooms above.
Connecting the wings is a glass-encased circulation link, allowing light to fill the house and its courtyard. Unusually for a London house, there is a strong connection with the outside environment, which is achieved through the use of roof lights, the glazed link, and openings out into the courtyard.
“Inventiveness never goes out of fashion, and this dramatic new house is the direct result of a thoroughly innovative approach in many different respects. From the adoption of the dramatically different structural solution to the intensive personal involvement of the Client in organising and coordinating a team of specialist subcontractors to deliver it, the outcome is a highly bespoke and delightfully detailed building. A true cutting-edge project.” – Judge’s comment / Structural Awards
Set within the Kew Green Conservation Area of south-west London, this four bedroom family house is formed of two pre-fabricated weathering steel volumes inserted behind a retained nineteenth century stable wall.
First and foremost a family home, the tone is informal but rich with incidental spaces, unexpected light, and complex vertical volumes. Approaching the design as a kind of built diagram of the way the family wanted to live, Piercy&Company created an internal landscape of alternative routes, levels, and spaces – many of which are aimed more at children than adults.
The simple plan makes the most of the constrained site, reduces the building’s mass in the streetscape, and responds to the living patterns of the family. Two rectangular wings each have living spaces on the ground floor and bedrooms above. Connecting the wings is a glass encased circulation link, allowing light to fill the house and courtyard.
The two shells housing each wing are formed of 4mm thick weathering steel – a hardworking combination of structure and façade. The weathering steel is maintenance free, essential for the enclosed site, and softened by a patchwork of expressed welds and perforated panels. The deep orange tones and perforations within the skin echo the dappled light and autumnal palette of nearby Kew Gardens. Inside, oak veneer panelling and Dinesen flooring are the basis of a warm and natural material palette.
Kew House was an experimental build, driven by the architect’s and clients’ shared interest in a ‘kit-of-parts’ approach, prefabrication, and the self-build possibilities emerging from digital fabrication. CNC milling and an on-site joinery workshop were used to create a bespoke fit-out that could be installed by the client and a small team of architecture graduates.
Project name: Kew House
Location: Cambride Rd, Richmond, London TW9, United Kingdom
Coordinates: 51.482580, -0.285878
- Type By Characteristic: Renovation / Expansion / Extension : House, Green & Sustainable House
- Type By Site: City / Town House
- Type By Size: Medium House – (201 sqm – 450 sqm)
- Type By Materials: Steel House
Floor count: 3
Site area: n/a
Project area: 3,960 sq.ft / 356 sqm
Completion Year: January 2014
Client / Owner / Developer: Lucas Family – Tim & Jo Lucas
- Piercy&Company – 122 Arlington Road London NW1 7HP, United Kingdom
- Main Contractor: Tim & Jo Lucas
- Cladding Contractor : CSI Hull
- Interior fit-out: Sam Lucas
- Steelwork Contractor: Commercial Systems International
- Basement Contractor: Estbury Basements
- Structural Engineer: Price & Myers
- Service Engineer: Arup
- Sustainability Consultant: Price & Myers
Text Description: © Courtesy of Piercy&Company, Structural Awards
Images: © Piercy&Company, Jack Hobhouse