This project has resulted from the interaction of two topics. Firstly, working within the dimensional and conservation constraints of a traditional London mews where excavation is the only option for expansion allowing for an acceptable level of habitation; basement kitchen, ground floor living room and first floor bedroom. Secondly, the perennial topic of the minimum dwelling presents itself where inspiration might be found in the ingenuity of the sleeping cabins of the wagon-lit.
The section is a key idea. The traditional ‘area’ is set into the volume of the house creating a double height to the kitchen below and a buffer between the living room and the street outside. A second double height volume is introduced on the garden side connecting the living room spatially to the bedroom above. These overlapping volumes create continuity between the three floors and an unexpected generosity in the vertical dimension.
If the ‘area’ introduces daylight to the excavated basement kitchen, a small courtyard provides a place to eat outside and a connection via an alternate tread external staircase to the terrace above. The two staircases create a compressed but elementary circuit of circulation as further relief to the tight dimensions of the plan.
As to the exterior, with the exception of this property, the majority of the original mews cottages had been replaced and gentrified earlier in the last century. Here the original aperture for the stable doors could still be detected.