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McChesney completes mirror-like South London house

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Ian McChesney has completed this house clad in reflective black glass in Sydenham, London

Reflective cladding was chosen for the house as it is ‘perceived to blend into the surroundings well’, which allowed the house to achieve planning ‘despite a number of objections’.


Built between two small lanes within the Sydenham conservation area, the five bedroom home has two entrances, one at each end of the building.

The ‘timber kit’ house was self-built by the client based on drawings prepared to Stage D by Ian McChesney.

Architect’s view

Ian McChesney, founder, Ian McChesney

It was made clear to us [by the planners at Lewisham] that a ‘striking’ and high-quality design was sought for this site in a conservation area. Redberry Grove is inhabited by houses in a range of shapes and styles all built in and around the late Victorian period. Given the variety of forms we decided not to mimic the existing massing but to create something obviously new but honed in its level of detail to a simplistic and crisp form.

This approach was supported by Lewisham who had put the design before their Design Review Panel to positive feedback.

The planning application came up against significant local objection with a small core of local residents mounting a no campaign resulting in a total of 68 objections. However, Lewisham remained highly supportive and the application was passed first time at committee.

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