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Adam Knibb wins planning for 3m-wide scheme on stilts in south London

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Adam Knibb Architects has secured planning consent for a narrow development on stilts in south London featuring an office and a flat above a parking space

The Hampshire-based practice won approval from Croydon Council for its 3.2m-wide scheme in St Dunstan’s Road close to South Norwood High Street.

Designed to maintain a right of way to the rear of the plot, and provide off-street parking, the 13m-long building will be raised on structural posts and have an open terrace at roof level.

Translucent polycarbonate cladding will be used for the first floor office and second floor apartment, with an external spiral staircase maximising the usable internal space.

Planning officers described the scheme as ‘visually interesting’.

‘While the proposed building would not be characteristic of the form and appearance of historic buildings in the South Norwood Conservation Area, it is acknowledged that the design is largely informed by the physical constraints of the site,’ they said in a report to councillors.

‘Notwithstanding that, the design would provide a point of interest when turning the corner into St Dunstan’s Road from High Street and it is considered that the proposed building would enhance the appearance of the South Norwood Conservation Area.’

Officers recommended approval and councillors granted consent. Work could start on site later this year.

Project data

Location Norwood, London
Type of project Mixed use
Client Private
Architect Adam Knibb Architects
Structural engineer Eckersley O’Callaghan
M&E Mesh Energy
Start on site Late 2019
Gross internal floor area 80m² + 22m² shared amenity space
Footprint 41.6m²

Visuals Found&Co

Existing site earmarked for Adam Knibb Architects' narrow South Norwood scheme

Existing site earmarked for Adam Knibb Architects’ narrow South Norwood scheme

Existing site earmarked for Adam Knibb Architects’ narrow South Norwood scheme

Architect’s view

This unique site measures only 13m long x 3.2m wide with a requirement to allow access through for neighbouring properties. Our client purchased the land with the idea to transform the airspace above.

An office has been designed at the first floor level and a studio apartment to the second floor, along with a room terrace across the whole top of the building. The visually dynamic statement at ground / first floor aligns with the neighbouring house scale and the floors above ‘disappear’ into the sky.

Sheltered parking has been allowed for at ground floor level while retaining through-access to the neighbouring shed at the rear. Structural posts line the north and south boundaries and an external spiral stair provides access to the two floors and roof terrace above. 

The first floor houses the proposed commercial office space. We have looked to include a shower room and kitchenette, as well as utilising useful storage solutions where possible. The desk spaces are framed by a full width set of sliding doors on the west elevation to allow as much light as possible into the floor plan. A Juliet balcony safely allows for one door to remain open during the summer for natural ventilation.

The second floor holds the studio apartment, where the more private spaces such as the bedroom and shower room are housed towards the rear away from St Dunstan’s Road. The kitchenette and living/dining zone also enjoy a full width set of sliding doors that provide access to a small outdoor terrace.

The spiral stair continues upwards to a proposed roof terrace, providing shared amenity space for the building’s occupants.

A mixture of dark textured cladding and a translucent skin have been proposed as the primary external cladding materials to provide depth to the massing and create a sense of light transparency at higher levels. Openings in the envelope appear more subtle from the surrounding roads and the translucent character gives the building a different appearance at day and at night.

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Readers' comments (2)

  • Such a tiny house, yet still a quarter of it given over to storing a car...

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  • South Norwood must be coming up if this kind of stuff is being approved

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