Hayhurst and Co has wrapped circulation around a lightwell to create a house on a former garage site


Whole House is a house full of contradictions: a house with large ideas on a small garage site. A house, seemingly without windows, that is flooded with light. A unique house for a speculative developer client.


The client for Hayhurst and Co.’s Whole House wished to maximise the development potential of an unloved garage site in south London. Bounded by back gardens to Victorian and inter-war housing and a super-sized 1990s mews development, Whole House is a 92-square-metre dwelling organised around a central courtyard: an exemplar for backland, urban living.


The entrance to the house sits in a wide, deep reveal on the front elevation accessed via a large sliding gate. A smaller gate in the same design provides access to the bin store and adds to the ‘thick’ composition of this small domestic elevation.

The circulation and daylighting strategies were developed together to create a long, light and delightful picturesque promenade: a device to provide views to the sky, surrounding roofs and tree-tops.

Walking around the central courtyard provides views in each direction and an abstract visual connection to the site’s environs. As the stair wraps from bottom to top its scale varies to encourage a slower or faster pace, a slower pace, widening and narrowing that reflect the level of implied privacy and openness of adjacent spaces.

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