The result of an extreme architectural makeover, this four-bedroom family home, replacing a former taxi garage, is the work of London-based architects vPPR. The plot, located in Hammersmith, London, had been designated as contaminated land when the architecture team took it on. This didn't stop them. Armed with an inspiring new design, vPPR completely transformed the site, which now, tucked away behind its original garage doors, hosts the award-winning Vaulted House.
In order to de-contaminate the site, a deep excavation was needed. During this process, all 1.5 metres of dug up soil had to be tested and then carefully disposed of. The surrounding context also needed to be considered as the site is enclosed by eleven party walls and is overlooked by a striking twenty-four neighbours.
The project, which recently won a RIBA award, is composed of a series of repeated geometric forms. Vaults - which lend the house its name - are a main feature, found throughout the building. The roof is a key element in the design. A set of sharply detailed vaulted roofs define different living zones and the building's aerial view reveals a playful harlequin pattern from the two tones of single-ply roofing membrane used. This move cleverly breaks up the large roof area and vastly improves the neighbours' views (it previously was just rotting asphalt).
The roof system was extremely complex, explain the architects. It had to be modelled many times on 3D software to ensure that key structural components, like huge steel beams, were completely hidden away in the crisp angled finishes, both inside and out. As the site is landlocked, roof-lights were installed on top of each vault, which flood the spaces with natural light.
Internally, the vaults meet seamlessly at sharp plastered edges. The house's trademark vault shape is repeated meticulously at different scales, including sculptural chamfered edges, the fireplace and windows. Even the timber finished floors are laid in a cross pattern that is like a reflection of the vaults that lay above it.
The project's landscaping is designed to encourage the children of the family to spend as much time playing in the outdoors. Access to the garden is possible via a double-height den at the back of the house. There is also a separate study, which provides acoustic privacy and a view through to the living space. A large double-sliding door opens up completely, transforming the dining room into a loggia for the summer months.