Heath Lodge

9x3b houses
43 units/ha

Added value

9 hbr extra / £1.1m gdv

"The separate elements share a distinctive identity, creating a sense of place in accordance with ‘Better Place to Live’."

Mary O'Rurke | Appeal Inspector | The Planning Inspectorate

The nine mews houses at Heath Lodge occupy a 100m-long site which is just 20m wide. Interior split levels are combined with exterior pitched walls to prevent overlooking on this incredibly tight site, delivering high-quality homes where most would fail.

On a quiet access route, a row of low-slung houses disguise the size and complexity of the properties behind the cool, grey front doors. The only clue is a series of angled box windows that provide residents with long views down their road while retaining privacy.

Once inside, it soon becomes clear that the proportions of the spaces have been carefully configured for maximum efficiency and flexibility within a difficult backyard site. Double-height entrances give way to sunken back rooms that open up onto private courtyard gardens.

The buildings themselves lean back seven degrees to capture an abundance of natural daylight that pours in through unconventional openings, which are tilted on another seven-degree angle outwards. This unusual design device is employed to prevent overlooking from the neighbouring residents.

The dual aspect nature of the homes means that light and air can pass through the buildings with ease, and this coincides with a series of renewable energy sources – solar panels, underfloor heating, heat recovery units and rainwater harvesting – to ensure the scheme is Code Level 4 compliant.

Autor Architecture devised a hybrid system of construction using Cross Laminated Timber and timber cassettes to lower build costs for the frame by 20%. Using these materials and modern methods of construction also improves insulation and therefore energy efficiency.