Sandy Rendel Architects, together with Sally Rendel, built a skinny 2.8 meter wide house named Slot House in a disused lane in Peckham, south London.
Sandy and Sally Rendel designed and built the house to fit the lane, which was almost the exact size of a London Underground car, next to their own house in Peckham.
“The major challenge was to create spaces that are both functional and enjoyable in a space that is no larger than a tubular cart,” said Sandy Rendel, founder of Sandy Rendel Architects.
“To commit to the investment involved in its development, we wanted to be sure that the house wouldn’t just ‘work’ but would be genuinely nice to live in,” he told Dezeen.
The architects designed the two-story house to make the most efficient use of the narrow site, while creating a space that would be a bright and pleasant place to live.
To avoid placing a burden on neighboring buildings, the house was constructed using a prefabricated, lightweight steel frame, which was cast inside to maximize space.
On the ground floor, the main living areas of the house are arranged in a linear fashion with the front door opening directly into the kitchen, the staircase in the center and a living room at the rear of the house. Above, on the first floor, is a master bedroom and an office area.
Light is brought into the house through large windows to the front and rear of the property and a skylight above the stairs.
“Bounded by two story side walls on both sides, the only possibility to bring in light was through the narrow front and rear faces and the roof,” said Sandy Rendel.
“To maximize light and increase the feeling of space, the layout is as open as possible, even including a small double-height space on the garden side connecting the living room to the study mezzanine above.”
Throughout the house, the architects combined the steel structure with exposed Douglas fir joists, spruce plywood walls, and cork and terrazzo floors.
“We wanted to use a range of materials that were economical and sturdy, but also those that could add richness to the interior,” said Sandy Rendel.
“The shape and layout of the spaces are very simple, so the character of the house is largely defined by these materials.”
Although the site had planning permission for a three-story house before Sandy and Sally Rendel bought it, the architects chose to build a smaller property to create a better place to live.
“The addition of another floor, for which the original building permit had given approval, would have had an impact on the layout, requiring a much more cellular layout due to the more onerous fire regulations imposed on them. a three story house, ”said Sandy Rendel.
“I think the developers would object to the small size we sought in purely financial terms, but we felt that ethically the small plot had a maximum capacity of two people and should be appreciated as such,” he continued.
“Even without maximizing its development potential in terms of sheer floor space and targeting quality above standard developers’ specifications, we have still proven that it is financially viable to build on such small and difficult brownfields. “
London-based Sandy Rendel Architects was founded by Sandy Rendel 2010. The studio previously completed a riverside house in the South West of England with an upper floor completely covered in weather-resistant wire mesh.
The photograph is by Jim stephenson.
Architects: Sandy Rendel Architects with Sally Rendel
Structural engineer: Structure workshop