Minimal UK compact home uses glass, plywood, steel, concrete

On an abandoned lot in South London, architect Carl Turner and his minimalist wife Mary Martin created a new type of terrace house that, in contrast to its Victorian neighbors, resembles stacked glass cubes. Occupying most of a small plot in Brixton, Slip House is one of the UK’s most sustainable homes, but it’s not all windmills and solar panels, instead the three “slipped” (cantilevered) box forms create an ultra-modern exterior and a calm, zen-like, open-spaced interior.

The cement and steel structure of the home is covered by a semi-opaque glass which opens the home to the street by allowing passersby to see the moving shadows inside. It’s a new type of upside down house: the bottom floor houses Turner’s architecture office, the middle floor is the living quarters and the top floor with the best views is reserved for living. Martin and Turner are minimalists so to create a kind of sanctuary, they have hidden nearly all of their things behind hand-crafted birch plywood furniture.

Achieving a Level 5 for sustainable homes- the highest rating in the UK-, Slip House relies on “‘energy piles’ which use a solar assisted ground source heat pump integrated into the pile foundations”, a wildflower green roof, rain water harvesting, permeable driveway, photovoltaics, mechanical ventilation with heat recovery and underfloor heating.

Arguably what makes Slip House sustainable isn’t in its materials, but in its flexibility to change with the needs of its tenants. It can morph from single family home to apartment plus office to a home plus in-law unit. Currently, Martin and Turner are “living over the shop”, but it’s a setup that they hope could be a model for affordable housing.

Video by Kirsten Dirksen


Categories: Interior, Projects


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