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HCL Architects’ mews houses feature solar panels as cladding

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The pair of houses in Fulham celebrate renewable energy with an unusual use of solar panels as cladding

The mews houses have been designed by HCL Architects to fit into a tight, awkward site previously occupied by six disused garages hidden down the end of a passageway off the Fulham Road. Built over three storeys including a basement and each accommodating four bedrooms, the 150m² houses employ a steel structural frame and yellow stock brick party walls to the rear and sides. 

The most distinctive element of the scheme is the south-facing elevations. These consist of full-height double glazing with sliding doors on all three levels and a Juliette balcony at the first floor. Inspired by the glass block façade of the Maison de Verre in Paris as well as the need to avoid overlooking, the buildings are further clad in blue solar panels fixed at 45° angles, generating electricity which is transferred to the National Grid and helps mitigate the homes’ energy costs.

Architect’s view

The solar screens are an integral part of the architecture, providing energy, privacy and filtering light. The energy generated is transferred to the national power network while the shading allows daylight without overheating the interior. Privacy is achieved in a compact location, and the houses still retain an open yet filtered light quality.

The buildings’ technology and ecology are an intrinsic part of the architecture, not hidden or disguised, but celebrated and enjoyed.

Billie Lee, director, HCL Architects

hcl609 20 00 1490

Project data

Start date on site June 2017
Completion date September 2018
Gross internal floor area 150m² per house
Form of contract Design & Build
Construction cost £1 million
Construction cost per m² £3,333
Architect HCL Architects
Client Artemis One
Structural engineer BMCE
M&E consultant EDP
QS Bond Davidson
Approved building inspector Oculus
Main contractor FCM
CAD software used AutoCAD

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