Liddicoat & Goldhill, a young architectural practice in London, used an essay on Japanese aesthetics as a starting point for the design of their own home, the Shadow House.
Architects Sophie Goldhill and David Liddicoat met at the Royal College of Art in London; in 2007, they purchased a small plot of land in North London on which they designed and built an experimental house for themselves. Influenced by In Praise of Shadows, Junichiro Tanizakiâ€™s 1933 essay on Japanese aesthetics, the couple believe there is poetry in the practical and adhered to simple construction methods and materials. â€œWe wanted the interior spaces to have maximum emotional effect,â€ says Goldhill. â€œThe raw construction has an honest and tactile quality, which is warm and intimate.”
Above: Encouraged by planners to use brick, a local material, the couple sourced a slim-format Dutch engineering brick with a delicate black glaze. A panel of book-matched Statuarietto marble between the windows adds a distinctive accent.
Above L: The exposed beams are raw larch, while polished concrete floors flow throughout the house. Above R: The brick finish of the exterior is used for the interior walls as well, giving the house a feeling of raw construction, which is enhanced by exposed light bulbs.
Above: The window frames are lined in raw larch.
Above L: The exposed electrical boxes and conduits are in keeping with the honesty of the construction. Above R: A toilet roll holder is carved out of the wall and lined in marble.
Above: The wood stairs have been whitewashed, allowing the texture of the wood to come through. The shadow gaps between the stairs and wall accentuate their differences.
Above L: The front entry. Above R: An open skylight in the upstairs bath.
N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on March 9, 2012 as part of our Channeling Downton Abbey issue.
Embarking on a ground-up build? Explore more standout designs in our gallery of Architect Visits.