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vPPR's Ott's Yard.

From leftover space to award winning architecture.

London's vPPR architects Ott's Yard case study

Combined for increased space.

250m² urban infill Opportunity

Two triangular sloping houses

Geometry, landscape and communal space used to create a new mode of living

Award winning development


The site for the Ott’s Yard houses, once home to a derelict workshop, was acquired at auction by two of the founder members of architecture practice vPPR in 2009. Tatiana von Preussen and Catherine Pease set out creating a pair of houses for their own use. Work on the project began in February 2012 and reached completion in August 2013. The dwellings were constructed using a timber frame, with plywood panels and steel to support the roof lights. The materials used on the project were carefully chosen to reflect a Victorian palette, with brickwork and greenery to the exterior and white-painted walls to the interior.

See how combining spaces with your neighbours can allow larger property development opportunities
Squeezing this development site into the leftover space behind a row of houses

Squeezed onto the leftover space behind houses in Tufnell Park, Ott’s Yard combines complex architectural processes with bold, simple ideas.

The triangular geometry of the site was subdivided into smaller triangles and the houses pivot around the courtyard in a pin-wheel fractal pattern. The triangle-shaped courtyard positioned at the heart of the scheme offers a sense of enclosed privacy despite the many houses that surround the development.

The triangular form of the buildings “ comprised of 23 party walls “ becomes a motif that is repeated inside and out at a variety of scales, including skylights, flooring, worktops and even tiling.

Open-plan layouts create views across multiple spaces, decorated by the delicate interplay of daylight patterns that change from hour to hour. The plans are spatially efficient but also experiment with visual perspective to give the illusion of pronounced depth, caused by the diverging lines of the walls and ceiling.

Open plan architectural layouts open spaces up for natural light


The building’s exteriors are carefully designed to minimise impact on the surrounding area. Windows face onto a central courtyard to protect from overlooking while all bricks were carefully selected to fit into the local colour palette. The houses are topped with a planted roof, designed with landscape specialist Arabella Lennox-Boyd, acting as artworks only ever seen by the neighbours.


Ott’s Yard represents vPPR’s breakthrough project, clearly demonstrating the practice’s willingness to explore dynamic forms while working in sensitive locations.

Clean modern architecture within an inner-city location
Well architected internal spaces maximise use of space
Maximise micro-development spaces on backyard plots of land
Get a sense of space with modern methods of construction

vPPR Architects

22 Prince of Wales Road

Kentish Town

London NW5 3LG

+44 207 729 6168