Infill sites are the cracks in the fabric of our cities, neglected, but awash with potential. Their limits are not a restriction, but rather a unique quality to be rethought and responded to with innovative design and the artistry of construction. The development of these sites can offer some relief to London’s housing needs, especially to the new creative generation entering the housing market. Maryland House is the Studio’s demonstration to create a feasible prototype of infill development.
The site has had difficulty obtaining planning since 2002, but in 2016, the Studio took on the challenge as a development scheme. What once was a brownfield vacant site, Maryland House now acts as a bold bookend to a row of terraced houses. The exterior is comprised of London stock brick reclaimed from the site and adds a familiar material to the surrounding context and contributes to the streetscape in a positive way.
Sitting on an 8.5m x 9m plot, we were faced with the most undeniable constraint of an infill site: space. To what could not be solved by looking up, we turned our eyes downward. The basement in Maryland House features 3.1m ceilings, kitchen, living space, bathroom, and garden. The basement is saturated in natural light by way of the garden and the staircase enclosed by glass blocks.
The ground floor holds a double and single bedroom, each with its own en-suite, as well as another garden. The three floors are connected by a deep red staircase that was engineered to create a striking feature bonding the floors together. The first floor belongs to the workspace/ studio, an integral part of addressing the lifestyle needs of the creative generation. A workspace should be an inviting and inspiring place to escape to. This light-filled room grants the inhabitant a separation from work and living space and supplies its own spacious terrace thus increasing well-being.
Photography Credit: James Retief
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