Tetris house

Having outgrown their bungalow in Chiswick, the owners approached us to design a new house to replace it. We were the fourth architects the owners had contacted, the previous three having failed to come up with a workable scheme.

The bungalow sat in the Chiswick conservation area at the intersection of four different architectural styles. The brief was to design a modern family home that would satisfy conservation officers and appease concerned neighbours. It also had to be environmentally friendly.

We started by using the Game Theory tool of utility (satisfaction) curves to quantify our client’s aspirations . This included taking into account the other parties affected, such as the neighbours and the council. Using Game Theory in this way gave the project direction and strategy.

This was followed by extensive site analysis and discussion with our client to consider issues such as pedestrian circulation, surrounding buildings and views.

The final design evolved into an environmentally conscious four storey, five-bedroom timber clad family home. This was conceived as a series of stacked programmatic rooms , enabling sunlight to follow the family’s occupation of the house’s room throughout the day.

The design adopted proportional elements from the surrounding housing stock in order to blend in. We also used modern environmental materials coupled with active and passive technologies.   The volumetric arrangement provides privacy, whilst a series of cantilevers create a dialogue with the roads, drawing your attention round the corner for an impressive reveal.  The clients were delighted with this and it also satisfied both planners and neighbours.






The principle structure is composed of pre-fabricated timber Structural Insulated Panels (SIP) clad with sustainably sourced Western Red Cedar timber and silicone render. The roof lights not only draw natural daylight within, but at night illuminate the gable end walls. A white ash timber staircase and handrail rises above the pool.


The varying western red cedar cladding colours and widths provide points of interest along this heavy, but thermally efficient north wall. The argon filled glazing retains heat whilst removing visual massing by introducing an animated screen of glass. Even when the blinds are closed, a different texture and colour is subsequently introduced. The reflection pool, western red cedar cladding & frameless glass play with the inside/outside boundary.





Active environmental systems such as geothermal boreholes provide the heating for the property whilst a 4,800 litre storage tank recycles rainwater for use in the garden and for the flushing of toilets.

Our Structural Insulated Panels (SIP) coming off the production line during our visit to the Irish based workshop and factory.