Nuns Lane


The site is located within an enclave designated by king ‘George V’ for the ‘soldiers and sailors land trust’ to house and create a community for ex-British servicemen for services to the empire. The estate of houses were designed using the principals of Ebineser Howard’s garden city movement. The site consists of the rear garden, of one of the houses, which was intended as an allotment as part of the original development. A house and studio were designed for the site in addition to three courtyards: a morning, midday and evening courtyard. The topography of the site has been manipulated to create a three story house including a basement and a double height studio. A consistent pallete of materials was proposed: light, exposed concrete [internally], stainless steel, iroko floors and joinery, absolute black granite, Kilkenny limestone, render and terrazzo with basalt and mother of pearl aggregate.

The configuration of the house on its site promotes connectivity with the external spaces and the topography of the site creates diagonal relationships with the external spaces. Each space within the house is conceived as having an independent character both in terms of scale, light and the use of materials. Each main space is mediated by a clear spatial threshold. The external spaces are considered as external rooms. It is unfortunate that the intended aesthetic of the midday or entry courtyard has suffered the loss of three 250 year old lime trees in summer would have provided shade to the interior spaces and a canopy of foliage. The exterior of the concrete has been insulated and rendered. Where openings have been made, there are deep recesses where you enter, flush glazed or projecting to accentuate the houses’ tectonic quality. The project was completed in August 2007.

Photos Paul Tierney