Chance de Silva’s curved concrete volume shortlisted for RIBA House of the Year

Chance de Silva’s curved concrete volume shortlisted for RIBA House of the Year

This curved concrete house in London’s Stoke Newington neighbourhood was the result of an uncanny partnership between architect, Chance de Silva, and sound artist, Scanner. The surprising collaboration lead to a flexible home and studio inspired by Erik Satie’s ‘Vexations’ – hence the name of the house, ‘Vex’ – which has been nominated for the RIBA House of the Year 2018 award.

Satie’s endlessly looping notes flow through the fluted volume of the house channelling minimalism and craftsmanship. It’s hard to imagine that the site was previously a disused spot designated only for fly-tipping to the annoyance of neighbours, who suggested the site to architects Stephen Chance and Wendy de Silva who then decided to develop their home and studio there.

Vex House London interior

Ground floor interior space of the Vex House in London

The house is unique and bespoke from every unexpected angle – it took the team eight years to complete. The curved shape helps reduce visibility of the building from the street, and has an interesting effect on the interior – each level is a different shape and plan with curved walls and different views from the windows.

Materials are used openly and honestly throughout. The exterior is raw with boat-like formwork, while inside, elements of the construction are exposed to reveal and celebrate the craftsmanship. The living/dining/kitchen on the second floor is designed with inbuilt wooden storage with metal screens and fittings and pale yellow work surfaces, all illuminated by a circular skylight above.

Creative detailing continues throughout the house from the curved bedrooms on the first floor, to the diverse window shapes and up to the roof terrace where there is an oval wood screen and green roof. §

The Royal Institute of British Architects 2018 ‘RIBA House Of The Year’ award will be announced on 28 November 2018

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