modern arching townhouses recall london's victorian and neo-classical past

modern arching townhouses recall london's victorian and neo-classical past

the dhaus company completes the arches in north-west london

 

The Arches is a row of six terraced townhouses set in a conservation area in North-West London, UK, emerging as a modern expression of the site’s urban and historic context. Completed by The DHaus Company, the project extends beyond architecture to transform the vicinity of the site and reinstate the area’s historic green lung as close to how it was back in 1872. The structure itself is a radical exploration of the site’s Victorian history and railway infrastructure.

 

After undertaking a study of the built environment in and around the local area, the design team drew inspiration from the various elements conveying the evolution of Neo-Classical British Architecture. Principles from this historic grain led the team to refine the existing design properties to their purest forms in red brick expressions — from the rectangles and Roman arches, to the use of a rendered rusticated base on the ground floor.

arching townhouses by the dhaus company recall london's victorian and neo-classical past
all images courtesy of AVR London, Matthew White, and Izzy Scott in collaboration with Richard Chivers

 

 

modern dwellings that enhance the urban fabric

 

The team at The DHaus Company positions the entrance to The Arches to enhance the Victorian architectural grain and to meld with the other old historic cottages further south along the road. As the land slopes, the entrance to the townhouses is either flush with pathway or accessed via a stepped entrance. A small arched mass is positioned at its rear, shaped using local London stock brick to reference the local color palette and the railway arches and bridges that directly cross the site.

 

Each dwelling unit is around 130 sqm with three to four bedrooms, a study, and a front garden that incorporates a private bin storage area, entranceway, and lightwell to illuminate the rooms at lower ground floor level. This level provides a further two bedrooms and two bathrooms, meanwhile the basement level comprises an open plan living and kitchen space and opens out onto the sunken rear garden overlooking the newly created grassed area. The stepped nature of the site lends an open ambiance to the lower level unlike a basement, while ensuring privacy and seclusion for the living spaces with plenty of access to natural light.

arching townhouses by the dhaus company recall london's victorian and neo-classical past
the motif of an arch defines the design concept, drawing on the site’s context

 

 

reviving the victorian green lung

 

On the site, an old petrol station from the 1950s was marked by the council as a negative contributor to the local conservation area, with its graffitied surfaces, large forecourt, and oversized canopy blocking long views through and across the site. To restore a sense of security and utilize the space, The DHaus Company removed the petrol tanks and any contaminated earth and covered this over to create a new safe green public space. Inspired by the historic green lung of open spaces in the vicinity, this new landscape acts as a buffer for the architecture behind and preserves the clear unbroken line of vision.

 

For the construction, The DHaus Company primarily used a timber frame along with reinforced concrete for the retaining walls, creating a subterranean structure. Inside this, sits a lightweight prefabricated structure comprising steel cross bracing that holds the giant arches in place. The Arches themselves were cast in concrete off-site under controlled factory conditions, and then clad with brick slips. The facade is enveloped in Ibstock Bexhill Red Multi bricks arranged in a bonding pattern that differentiates the various areas of the building and gives order to each elevation. Topping the row of homes is a green roof which was installed to harvest rainwater and photovoltaics, adding renewable power to the homes while also lending residents behind The Arches a nice view over the wildflowers and wildlife habitat.

arching townhouses by the dhaus company recall london's victorian and neo-classical past

 

 

arching townhouses by the dhaus company recall london's victorian and neo-classical past

arching townhouses by the dhaus company recall london's victorian and neo-classical past

arching townhouses by the dhaus company recall london's victorian and neo-classical past

arching townhouses by the dhaus company recall london's victorian and neo-classical past

the-arches-dhaus-company-designboom-4

 

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project info:

 

name: The Arches

location: London, United Kingdom
architecture: The DHaus Company

project architects: David Ben-Grunberg, Daniel Woolfson

structural engineer: AMA
planning dept: Camden (special thanks to Charles, Alex, Elaine, and Rob)
planning consultant: The Heritage Practise
glazing contractor: Vitrocsa by BRAVA WINDOWS

prefabricated arches: Pheonix 

timber arches: Materialise Creative Design / Cut online CNC studio  
visualization: AVR London
brickwork by: Ibstock

client: Design Ventures, EFKERIA Ltd

photography: AVR London / Matthew White / Izzy Scott in collaboration with Richard Chivers

 

 

designboom has received this project from our DIY submissions feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

 

edited by: ravail khan | designboom

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