The Narrow House is a new private house which backs onto the south coast in Hove. The thin building, which was previously occupied by a garage, needed a specialised super-slim structure in order to maximise the available space and to accommodate the code minimum widths for the required staircase, corridor and car parking space at ground level. Furthermore, the three storey tall structure needed to function as a home for the residents and their extensive collection of art.
Working with Sanei Hopkins Architects, Elliott Wood developed an RC framed structural strategy utilising portalised blade columns with concrete beamstrips and slabs. The blade columns were designed to be pre-cast on site and lifted into position to minimise the column widths. The beamstrips were cast with upstands (which were concealed within the floor finishes) to create a level soffit. The entire concrete structure was architecturally exposed to create an art gallery style minimalist aesthetic as well as to save precious centimetres through eliminating the finishes. The exposed RC frame is infilled with timber stud walls and flush mounted stainless steel mesh cassettes to allow the clients to rearrange their artwork easily.
A full length processional staircase and light slot, which wraps around the front façade, create an uninterrupted vertical artwall space. The left-hand side is largely freestanding, and is only tied back to the main structure at the processional stair landings and through perimeter steel rods aligned with glazing bars.
The Narrow House won the 2016 RIBA South East Region Award.
Architect: Sanei Hopkins
Images by: Peter Landers Photography