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House On A Narrow Plot

Posted by caliwag , 27 August 2014 · 1,469 views

This is a response to a forum thread and something that has been touched on in my early blogs.

I did design a small 'mock' coach house at he end of a very long garden. The site was less than 5.6m and agreement had been reached to build on one boundary thus leaving an internal width of 3.6m Plainly there were no projections over the neighbour's land and the wall and gutter etc were designed to be virtually maintenance free.

I also helped redesign a forum contributors' house on a narrow plot. The 'trick' in each case was to minimize corridors by taking the entrance to the house to the middle of the length.
Indeed another option is to create an 'enfilade' house which is really just a row of interconnecting rooms. It works, though is not favoured by all and is certainly not appropriate for bedrooms!

The daylight issue can be dealt with by internal courtyards/gardens, as in the late Peter Phippen's award winning estate in Hatfield which is only about 5.5m wide. http://www.hdawards....ic/theryde.html Enter into the long side to a courtyard (glazed over as necessary) that ideally should be where some of the entrance activities take place and where the stair maybe, remember disabled toilet facilities.

Small courtyards can admit skylight and create internal gardens/play space.

So this all depends on access location, agreement with neighbours, orientation, and a thorough analysis of the families needs, wants, desires.

I would recommend A Pattern Language by Chris Alexander and colleagues and The Modern Courtyard House by Duncan MacIntosh both available, at a price, on abebooks.co.uk
The whole approach to such a design needs freedom of prejudices and assumptions, perhaps a chat with the planners and neighbourly agreement. Having said that a two storey house 1 metre from a boundary will have an impact where there was nothing before. You can always drop the eaves by 500mm to create a more cottage effect.

Have designing fun...

+1 to the "design for living".
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Nice one Dave,

Interestingly, October 2014 edition on Elle Decoration features a converted industrial building with an internal courtyard which undoubtedly shows the potential of a courtyard space. (page 268) This one is top glazed and provides a dining space as well as daylight to the surrounding spaces...very impressive.
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Yay for foIIowing up on the Ryde.

One threat to internaI courtyards is that someone comes aIong 20 years Iater and turns it into a room, which can cause havoc.

One of my neighbours has done that. House now not worth as much as it shouId be !
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Aye...I've seen a courtyard glazed over to create an interesting room for dining, home-office or just a means of adding a play-space, a special green-space or climate buffer...indeed to the great benefit of surrounding rooms, but creating a new room with a solid roof would create dark surrounding rooms. Doesn't surprise me it's reduced the value.
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