- Original design
- Jonathan Pile , 2018
The 2018 programme is now past. We will be launching the 2019 programme mid-August.
The house, completed in 2018, was designed by architect Jonathan Pile, a director of Oval Partnership Architecture, as a family home for himself and partner Katherine, an architectural project director, and their four year old son.
It is inserted into a tightly constrained, oddly-shaped site behind buildings fronting Deptford High Street in an area of Archaeological Priority, and overlooks Thomas Archer’s Grade I Listed St Paul’s church.
Crossfield Street began life as ‘the Footeway to Greenwich’, noted on John Evelyn’s hand-drawn 1623 map of Deptford. By the 18th Century Crossfield Lane, as it had then become, had houses the full length along both sides.
Later terraces of 19th century houses were demolished in the 1970s as part of widespread ‘slum’ clearances in Deptford.
The new house, certainly the second and possibly the third on this site, is now the only one on Crossfield Street, and now opens directly onto the new Quietway 1 cycle route.
Funding from the Thames Tideway project, which involves a 50m deep vent shaft being sunk 100m east of our house, will eventually lead to the re-landscaping and general upgrading of the open space around Crossfield Street, already a peaceful green oasis.
The Conservation Area requirement to retain the wall fronting Crossfield Street led to the notion of a light-weight timber house being ‘inserted’ into the site.
The courtyard house plan, a familiar typology after many years working in Asia, quickly emerged as an attractive solution to bring light and views of greenery into the plan whilst maintaining privacy.
The courtyard, with full-height glazed sliding doors on three sides, provides a rich experience of ‘self-referential’ views from, and back into, the house, animating family life and counterpointing the tranquility we now enjoy so close to the bustle of Deptford High Street.
The unusually shaped site resolves into two rectangular ‘wings’ of bedrooms linked by a lower non-orthogonal open-plan living zone. The upper floor, within the pitched roof of the north wing, provides a work studio and second living area with views north over the churchyard and south across the two levels of wildflower green roofs of the two single story blocks.
The external black-stained vertical timber boarding takes its cue from the vernacular 18th and 19th century houses and outbuildings that would have formed the backdrop to Archer’s church.
A photograph from c.1900 by the celebrated early local photographer Thankful Sturdee, now in the Lewisham Local Studies Archive, is almost certainly of a timber-clad house that occupied part of our site.
The house is mostly timber-framed with steel portals to form the two-storey pitched section at the front.
The timber frame, which sits on a raft slab, was ‘cut to fit’ rather than being prefabricated off site. This approach suited our main contractor, Fullers Builders, a firm more usually associated with restoration and conservation work who have a full in-house team of highly-skilled joiners.
The Douglas Fir ceiling joists are exposed in the principal ground floor rooms. Although this was challenging to resolve geometrically, it feels appropriate in a place historically associated with timber shipbuilding, and gives a warm materiality to the interiors.
Behind the black-stained softwood ‘rain screen’ cladding and the wildflower living roofs the vertical, horizontal and pitched surfaces of the exterior are all covered with a single, liquid-applied roofing product.
Solar thermal panels augment a gas-fired boiler-fed heating system and the house is designed to meet the requirements of the Code for Sustainable Homes, Level 4.