in london’s kensington district, just steps from earls court road, architect sophie hicks has designed herself a private and secluded residence at the heart of the city. occupying a relatively small site in a conservation area, the building was limited by planning constraints to two storeys: one above ground, and one below. according to the design team, the scheme aims to maximize not only the actual space, internally, but also the perception of space.

sophie hicks london house 1a earls court square
the home is located in london’s kensington district, just steps from earls court road
image by annabel elston (also main image)

 

 

to achieve this, sophie hicks architects built right up to the boundary of the plot and gave the house generous ceiling heights. despite its partially subterranean setting, ‘1A earl’s court square’ remains open to the outside world — welcoming natural light, while framing views of the trees that surround the property. ‘our goal was to create an urban house that was comfortable but sustainable; and that looked and felt, in every sense, healthy,’ explain the architects.

sophie hicks london house 1a earls court square
the entrance to the two-storey property
image by annabel elston

 

 

exposed concrete has been used for the building’s structural frame, with a rough board-marked finish found throughout. meanwhile, a contrasting polished concrete is used for the floors. the home has been conceived as a ‘quiet machine’ and, as such, the floors can be heated and cooled as desired. elsewhere, some of the windows slide or guillotine electronically. to ensure that the home retains its minimal appearance, the electrics are organized in stainless steel boxes discreetly set into the columns.

sophie hicks london house 1a earls court square
electrics are organized in stainless steel boxes discreetly set into the columns
image by annabel elston

 

 

high specification glass has been used to reduce heat loss and solar gain, while concrete, with its high thermal mass, has been chosen for the same reason. in addition, solar panels have been incorporated to offset carbon dioxide emissions. ‘contemporary houses such as this are sadly rare in kensington; and even more rarely visible from the street,’ notes the design team. NOWNESS has produced a film by nick ballon about sophie hicks and the house, which can be seen here.

sophie hicks london house 1a earls court square
the home has been conceived as a ‘quiet machine’
image by annabel elston

sophie hicks london house 1a earls court square
some of the windows slide or guillotine electronically
image by sophie hicks

sophie hicks london house 1a earls court square
the living area on the upper level
image by sophie hicks

sophie hicks london house 1a earls court square
stairs lead to the subterranean storey
image by sophie hicks

sophie hicks london house 1a earls court square
a void brings daylight into the below ground bedroom
image by annabel elston

sophie hicks london house 1a earls court square
the use of concrete continues throughout the property
image by annabel elston

 

in residence: sophie hicks
video courtesy of NOWNESS

 

 

project info:

 

architect: sophie hicks architects
location: kensington, london, UK
completed: 2018