Pitched Black

Gruff Architects


Pitched Black is a new-build four-bedroom family home for our director Rhys and his young family. A technically challenging and tight back land site, the plot became known to the practice as the yard of a local builder, with whom Gruff had worked on numerous projects previously. Located in a conservation area and bounded on one side by a railway cutting, the site posed many design and logistical challenges.

The first floor, clad in black timber boards is pitched 10 degrees away from the boundaries to diminish the perceived mass of the building from the neighbouring gardens. Below the masonry-built ground floor, a contiguous piled concrete basement offers additional living space and a guest bedroom.

The glazing is to the side and rear elevations with no windows on the front elevation, maintaining privacy from the rear of the neighbouring houses. The house’s primary outlook is therefore the tree-lined railway cutting. With no immediate buildings in this direction, this offers the house a panoramic vista of ‘private green space’; a rare commodity in a built-up suburban area of London.

Whimsical, fun and, at times suitably indulgent, the project has brought together collective ideas from the whole office, and Rhys’ family and been a fantastic opportunity to test and execute a variety of ideas developed throughout the practice’s history.

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