The site in Balham, abandoned for the past 15 years and overrun by Japanese knotweed, was originally the garden of a neighbouring building. It made the ground works complicated but the site unappealing to developers and hence affordable.
A key purpose was to create a house with a minimal impact on the neighbourhood and the surrounding properties. Because of his experience with other projects facing similar issues Woolley saw the potential the site was carrying.
To achieve his goal of minimal impact on the surrounding properties Jack Woolley designed a single-storey, inward-facing house hidden behind a brick wall with a mysterious door.
The low profile of the building makes it barely noticeable and preserves the long view from the street which is important for the neighbourhood. To enhance this effect, Jack Woolley incorporated the colours and materials of the surrounding buildings into his design. The building immediately to the left is white with red brick details; the building to the right has a red colour with white details.
The street elevation of Spiral House is made from these two finishes, alternating in a way that is intended to create a rhythmic link. To make a subtle difference he chose the roman-style brick linea 3016 by Vande Moortel. As the colour matches perfectly with the other buildings the size and shape of the bricks mark the building out in a playful way.
Finally the roof was covered with plants, creating a similar view for the higher located windows to when the site was still a garden.
A big part of the success of the house is down to the detailing of the brick wall. Therefore the architect chose the Hand-Made
slim brick linea 3016
by Vande Moortel used with thin 4-5 mm mortar joints. The wall, visible from the street, spirals around the site creating the different areas of the design. Doing so the brick wall forms a link between the street, the open space and the interior of the building.
A big retractable window separates the living space from the courtyard. As both areas share the same walls and floors they form a unified space in summer. This aspect is enhanced by the skylight that stretches across the living space and lets natural light fall on the brick walls inside.
The house is slightly sunken below ground, so the courtyard gently steps up to mediate between floor and street level.
The house is open to visitors as part of Open House London
on the 20th of September between 10am and 1pm.
A fan of long sized bricks? Check out our newest product line of infinitum