ISSUE 95  |  Gothic Influence

In Praise of the Shadow House

October 25, 2013 9:00 AM

BY Christine Chang Hanway

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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 Tanizaki’s 1933 essay on Japanese aesthetics, the couple believe there is poetry in the practical and adhered to simple construction methods and materials. “We wanted the interior spaces to have maximum emotional effect,” says Goldhill. “The raw construction has an honest and tactile quality, which is warm and intimate.”

For more see, Liddicoat & Goldhill, members of the Remodelista Architect/Design directory. Photography by Keith Collie.

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.