From leftover space to award winning architecture.
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.
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.
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.