Lyndon Goode Architects (LGA) have secured planning permission for an unusual house that maximises use of a highly challenging backland plot in the Crouch End Conservation Area. The building burrows deep into a steeply sloping piece of land to create a semi-submerged, 229sqm house fronting onto Berkeley Road, N8. It will replace three disused garages sandwiched between the rear gardens of Victorian houses on Russell Road and Wolseley Road.
The site’s challenging topography will yield a spacious and interesting home, its diverse array of windows and skylights making the most of natural light. Carefully selected materials including red brick will help this contemporary building sit comfortably in the Victorian Conservation Area. Natural-finished Siberian larch details pick up on the woodland feel bestowed by the mature trees in the gardens that line and define this idiosyncratic plot.
Cutting into the site’s steeply rising land will create a level threshold from Berkeley Road, and minimise the building’s visual impact on nearby houses. Two of three storeys will be visible from the street, from which the house is set back to further reduce its presence. The ground floor accommodation will extend back through the kinked and fluted plot as a series of spacious living areas running from snug to open plan kitchen and dining area, culminating in a bedroom suite or study at the back of the house.
Pushing and pulling at corners of the building has helped to bring light down into the lower spaces. A skylit staircase runs through the core of the house, funnelling natural light into the building’s lower reaches. On the top (first) floor a master bedroom and two further bedrooms terminate in an outdoor terrace. From here an exterior staircase descends to a second, nearly-4m deep sunken terrace. Beneath this lies a 90sqm basement accommodating a cinema room, fitness room, sauna and storage areas. The basement front room is fed by natural light from windows onto a lightwell that is accessible from the front courtyard.