A detached two bedroomed sunken basement house, built tangent to the boundary lines, comes with some challenges. However, this individual new home in Odessey Road, Borehamwood became a regional finalist in the LABC 2020 Building Excellence Awards.
One of the biggest challenges in the design of the home was creating enough thermal-insulation and obtaining natural light.
The most efficient way to achieve energy efficiency is to create an exterior envelope. However, with no access, concrete piles built near the boundary line, and a severely limited interior space this wasn’t the answer. The architect and developer selected Cellecta Hexatherm XFloor300 boards of 100mm deep, due to their durability, high resistance to compression, and water absorption. All the boards were laid on concrete-piles wall, waterproofed in advance, and another concrete wall was built to the inside of the building, like a cavity wall, to protect the insulation.
The other challenge was making the most of natural light. A parallelepiped suspended above a created pit so the light could come in through its longest sides. The rear patio is transparent, featuring “walk-on” structural glass, to be used as a terrace but also to let the natural light come in.
The structural design and the main building details were discussed with the Hertfordshire Building Control team from the very first step.
Site visits were very productive and information was provided promptly, allowing for easy discussion and decision making. The design team were transparent and communicative during the building stages minimising disruption to the project timescales.
By keeping the shape of the former back garage and carving the land around and underneath it, this constrained land has more than fulfilled it’s potential. Transforming the overlooking into a “looking-inside” concept, and concentrating the view into the core of the house has created an individual new home well worth celebrating.
Click here for more information about the LABC awards.
Click here for a full list of the winners at the LABC awards 2020.