Built on a site that formerly housed a garage, the two-storey building’s shape was inspired by subterranean spaces and the play of light in a JMW Turner painting. “We were excited when we came across a Turner painting depicting the subtle lights that seem to enlarge the boundaries of the Church space”, explains Shimazaki. “The wall surfaces are blurred and the light from the window seems to reach gently to the open space”. Though the interior is crafted from dark and heavy concrete, through cleverly placed windows the space is illuminated differently throughout the day; “the volume itself becomes merged with the light and the shadow”, the architect explains.

Though notably different to its urban surrounds—the exterior of the home is clad in silvered chestnut—the site is not designed to be at odds with its neighbors. Rather, it has its own way of relating to the North London landscape. “The timber fencing, the concrete mass, the positions of the apertures are all responding to the railway, the road, the mass of surrounding garages, the neighboring houses, and so on…” explains Shimazaki. Yet, it is also an inward-looking space, where the occupants can be removed from the bustle of the city in their semi-subterranean retreat.

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