Gillespie Street House

Client: Private

Over the years, LDN have built many houses of all sizes. Our new house for a private client at Gillespie Street is the smallest at approximately 75m2 but appears much larger than it actually is. The site is located in central Edinburgh in a garden area which had been converted to a garage and storage space at the end of two rows of colony type housing. It was overlooked on all sides by surrounding development and was unsightly and detracted from the character of Gillespie Street. It was however one of those many gaps in the urban fabric of the area, awaiting the right development opportunity, which do much to characterise the identity of the surrounding area.

Our brief was to develop as large a house as possible on the site with as much privacy as possible and without affecting the amenity and privacy of the surrounding properties. It should also be simple and economic to build and have low running costs.

Our solution was to create a hard edge around the perimeter of the site and arrange single-storey living areas in an L-shaped form with fully glazed walls around a small private urban courtyard which forms an outdoor living space and could also function as a car parking space, if necessary.

Given the tight nature of the site, we developed a fabric first approach making a highly efficient design including a compact floor plan, a simple construction methodology with limited materials and as much off-site manufacture as possible, a construction methodology using a super insulated off-site breathable timber frame, a high level of air tightness and installation of a high-efficiency underfloor heating system and LED lighting.

The house features a limited palette of materials: textured facing brick, dark grey powder-coated aluminium and ceramic floor tiles used both internally and externally to link inside and outside and create the feeling of space. Its simple yet robust detailing coupled with its modest contemporary form and limited palette of materials allows the house to be a calm and positive addition to the architectural diversity of the area.

Whilst initially concerned about the implications of the new development, surrounding neighbours were then intrigued and finally very complementary about the new house. They have all been surprised by the extent of accommodation on the site, its sense of privacy, and the generous nature of the living accommodation.

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