Our new project, the Sustainable Terraced House, looks at how, through the adaptive reuse of existing built fabric, our cities could alter established typologies to create more breathable, comfortable, sustainable, and joyful places to live. The project explores the vital topic of contextual as well as environmental sustainability that surrounds the question of how our houses will adapt to changing needs accelerated by pandemic induced strains.

With their ubiquity forming an invaluable collective memory of our cities and towns, terraced houses are largely protected and revered by planning regulations, seeking to preserve and retain them in their original state. These buildings, though historic and entrenched in our cities’ identities, are energy inefficient, their operations resulting in significant heat loss through external envelopes and necessitating use of significant amounts of carbon for maintaining internal thermal regularity.

Built in a period of rapid urbanisation roughly 150 years ago, many of these homes have quietly adapted over the years out of necessity to reflect modern standards of living. As people continue to work from home in the face of the pandemic, pressure is growing on these houses to adapt once more. Not only is office space now required internally, external green space and quieter streets have become vital as people spend more time in their local neighbourhoods.

The proposal seeks to re-energise the street, giving more space to residents and providing a public realm that encourages exercise and interaction. Widening the pavements allows once narrow and linear pavements to become generous and active boulevards and an extension of the home itself. The project adds front-facing extensions above the original rooflines, constructed from sustainable cork blocks. By proposing layers of private/shared gardens, the project explores the boundaries of density, ideas of collective spaces, and rear-to-rear garden communities.