Building one’s own home is a dream that most of us have. The ability to have our home designed and built from the ground up around our vision, needs and aspirations is alluring. However, living in a city like London where land values are high due to high demand, how do people find land to build on in London for their self-build homes? Read more
“The Japanese House Reinvented” by Philip Jodidio is the latest addition to our library of design books. It was the only book about self build homes on small urban plots that enticed me at the end of my visit to “The Japanese House: Architecture and Life after 1945” exhibition at the Barbican. A must-see exhibition if self build homes or housing in general is of interest. On my initial flick through, I thought the book had struck a good balance between beautiful architectural photography, plans and sections as well as text to explain the features a camera cannot reach. Too many architecture & design books include stunning photography but lack drawings or text to explain what is really going on beyond the one or two shots. All the houses included in the book have been designed by renowned Japanese architects and there is a theme of experimentation and inventiveness, especially in the projects built either in Tokyo or other dense urban cities in Japan. I wondered whether there were lessons to learn from how Japanese architects and their clients have optimised self build homes on small urban plots often acquired at a premium.
When we are contacted by home owners or developers looking to construct new builds in an area of historical interest, how to approach the design is often the main concern. Our approach to new builds in conservation areas is to study the architectural qualities that define the conservation area and reuse these in a contemporary way. This allows the new to be reflective of its time whilst sitting comfortable next to the old. Committed to creating contemporary, high quality design, the term contemporary vernacular best describes our approach to designing new buildings in conservation areas.