Like La Maison de Verre, the two proposed houses use skeleton frame steel construction allowing a free plan and therefore a flexible interior layout, which can potentially be divided by permanent or movable screens in each of the upper floors.
The Down Street Mews units were also designed with generous ceiling heights to not only allow natural daylight to flow inside the rooms but also to give the building the potential to be adaptable for other uses in the future.
Whilst the two dwellings were designed as glass boxes to let the light flow inside the rooms, the intention was also to explore a way of regulating the degree of intimacy and light in each room, playing an occasional game of shadows.
The composition of the façade is an interpretation of Japanese sliding screens made of either white translucent paper, which provides light, warmth and intimacy (the shoji), or opaque paper for privacy and interaction between the outside and the inside (the fusuma).
Made of one layer of frosted glass applied on both sides of a steel frame, the façade has its outer skin running consistently on all façades, whilst its inner skin changes to produce the opaque or the translucent finish required. Only the windows interrupt the outer skin leaving the space fully connected to the outside.
In order to keep the flow and feeling of space and continuous design, the interior design has been developed around the same concepts, using a refined palette to work harmoniously with the exterior. The aim is to create a monolithic shell that will facilitate the future resident in putting their own stamp on the building. It is however, not a blank canvas; it is one canvas that has many layers, albeit all white, that creates a home which celebrates the light and openness achieved in a small space.
The project is due to start on site in May 2014.