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Green light for Peter Morris’s ‘fairytale’ Camden Cloud House

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Camden Council has approved an architect’s ‘flamboyant’ self-build forever home – a fairytale-inspired scheme dubbed the Cloud House

The local authority’s director for supporting communities used delegated powers to approve Peter Morris’s plans for a pair of houses with elaborate pink façades at 20 Vicar’s Road in north London.

Morris and his wife Emily Kennedy applied earlier this year to bulldoze their existing two-bed Victorian home on the plot and build two eccentric semi-detached houses across this space and the garden site next door.

The application went before a council Members Briefing Panel this week and was given the green light to proceed under delegated powers, as recommended by planning officers.

’Overall, the Cloud House building is a unique, flamboyant and interesting piece of architecture,’ said a report to the briefing panel. ’It has been well-considered to ensure it is respectful of its context.’

Planning officers added: ’It is accepted that this is an unusual designed building. However, there is no clear established architectural character to this part of the borough and, as a result, this is a suitable opportunity site for more experimental and distinctive design.

’The proposed building responds well to its context where appropriate and also has a clear character of its own that will positively contribute to the street and the wider area.’

The new homes – a four-bedroom property for the family and an adjoining three-bedroom unit to be sold on the open market – were inspired by the ‘fairytale aesthetic’ of existing buildings on the street, according to the application. These include the Grade I-listed St Martin’s Church and a Grade II-listed primary school.

The scheme includes a roof terrace and a rooftop plunge pool.

Morris, director of Hornsey practice Peter Morris Architects, spent three years designing his new residence. After five redesigns and a year in preapplication discussions, he submitted the scheme to planners in February.

As well as the listed buildings on the north London street, other influences on the project included a honeymoon trip to Miami, which inspired the pink hue and Art Deco touches. The house also includes other details such as duck egg blue metalwork, colourful graphic interiors and polka dot tiling on the roof terrace. 

Morris told the AJ this week he was ‘delighted’ the scheme had been approved. The next stage of the project is to progress discussions over the sale of the three-bed house, he said, to fund the start of construction.

The architect said earlier this year that the scheme aimed to surprise and delight passers-by.

‘The architecture on the street is wildly eclectic, and tall, ranging from four-storey 1960s social housing to three-storey Victorian villas and big new brick-built blocks of flats,’ he said. ’This a street where both height and a little flamboyance are appropriate.’

Five objections were made by neighbours, on grounds of aesthetics and impact on the listed church nearby. The Victorian Society said the existing house ’forms an integral part of the historical setting of the Grade I-listed church’.

Planners said the application site was not listed, nationally or locally, as a building of special architectural or historical interest, and was not in a conservation area.

A spokesperson for Camden Council said the local authority had ‘reached a resolution to grant planning permission subject to the S106 agreement’.

Other projects by Peter Morris Architects include Yerbury Primary School and his ‘whistling wall’ of stainless steel fins that now sit on top of Parliament Hall Lido on the edge of Hampstead Heath.

Cloud house peter morris architects 4

Cloud house peter morris architects 4

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