Urban density is often seen as a serious issue, but it can also offer great architectural opportunities. Often, the greater the challenge posed by density, the more creative and innovative the architect can be and, in working to avoid urban sprawl, this is exactly what is happening in major cities worldwide.
However, while housing can be created on even the smallest of floor plates, there are still downsides to city living, such as a lack of privacy and noise pollution. These issues are common for those residing in metropolitan areas, though one British architectural firm are proving that they don’t have to be.
Teatum + Teatum’s ‘Hidden House’ aims to create solace in even the most urban of environments. Located in the centre of London, the house shifts the architectural focus inwards rather than outwards.
Positioned in between two existing buildings, Hidden House appears as a coloured brick wall with a perforated steel plate. Though one might not notice as much, the steel plate is movable and masks the front entry.
Described by the architects themselves as ‘internal and intimate,’ the residential dwelling relies on skylighting, instead of wall-positioned windows to permit natural light inside.
Not only are these skylights functional, they also stand as key internal design pieces with much of the building wrapped around the central seven metre tall light well. The architects explain that the removal of external light and view sources reinforce the interior space ‘creating intimacy and a focus on light and materiality.’ Further small-scaled skylights allow for natural light in the upstairs rooms.
While the innovation that has gone into the development is clear, the value of the natural light could be questioned. In a location such as London, where the clime means that extensive sunlight exposure is limited, it remains to be seen whether the space will be prone to an extended reliance on artificial lighting. Furthermore, the very nature of the building lends itself to an almost claustrophobic aesthetic.
The space is however, rule-breaking, and rule-breaking design will always be questioned and critiqued as much as it should be recognised and commended.
While the concept of bringing the interior focus solely on the interiors could leave residents feeling as locked in as much as locking the rest of the city out, the design is unique, the framed ceiling shots of the sky stunning and the use of space very clever.