Somerset Road, Birmingham
In spite of the challenge of a narrow site and a brief at odds with any precedent in the area, the proposals for a striking new build family home in Handsworth Wood were approved by planners without issue.
- The house is situated on a 7 metre wide site between a Victorian Terrace and an Arts and Crafts style 20th Century dwelling on a traditional residential road
- Khoury Architects was presented with a brief from a client who “wanted to feel like he was on holiday when at home”
- Accommodation was to be arranged over 3 storeys and include a cinema, gym, sauna and third floor balcony as well as more typical rooms associated with a family home
- Interior design was to be minimalist with double height spaces, open plan galleries, glass walls, hidden storage and a feature staircase
Simple yet striking geometry and materiality of both the front and rear facades reference the surrounding house yet deliver a modern interpretation.
The street facade is a solid and secure composition while at the rear expansive glazing and sliding glass facades open the interior to landscaped gardens. Traditional brick and block, timber joist floors and roof construction are coupled with steel framing, timber cladding, cantilevered concrete floors and blockwork spine walls that spread loads. The brickwork is a light cream colour which contrasts dramatically with the dark oak chosen for doors, windows and external cladding.
A simple plan form and dynamic section arrange this accommodation over three storeys. Roof glazing coupled with double and triple height spaces create spacious and effective circulation and living areas whilst aiding the passive ventilation of interior space. The abundance of glass floods all of the spaces with light during the day and at night the building is totally transformed with the various layers and levels of concealed lighting.
Accommodation has been thoughtfully planned around the three generations that live at Somerset Road, allowing the family to socialise as well as maintain distance as desired. Above all, it is easy to use with an integrated vacuum and single storey glazed kitchen leading to the south facing garden and the garage beyond.