Key Information

  • Date: 2018
  • Client: Artemis One
  • Location: London, UK
  • Budget: £1,000,000
  • GIA per house (m²): 150

Overview

Living in an electric maison de verre: two unique architect designed mews houses in London's Fulham. 

Tucked down the end of a passageway off the Victorian terraced Fulham Road are two unexpected, sustainable modern gems.

The Fulham Houses celebrate renewable energy in a strikingly visible way. Cladding the buildings’ fully glazed facades are unusual blue-coloured solar panels. Their appearance and the quality of light entering the mews’ interiors is reminiscent of the glass block façade of the iconic 1932 Maison de Verre in Paris, but with a distinct difference- these elevations generate electricity. 

The four-bedroom three-storey (including basement) properties have been designed by HCL Architects to fit snugly into a tight, awkward site previously occupied by six disused garages. Each 150sqm mews house employs a steel structural frame and yellow London stock brick party walls to the rear and sides, but it is the south-facing main elevation that is the most compelling.

The architects’ innovative treatment of the building’s façade was a response to several key challenges. A desire to maximise daylight into each house resulted in full height double-glazing with sliding doors on all three levels and a Juliette balcony at the first floor. However, overlooking into the rear of the existing Fulham Road properties had to be avoided.

The inspired solution involved fitting solar shutters to the building’s façade at ground through to first floor level. To ensure only oblique views are possible, the architects designed each solar screen to be fixed at a 45-degree angle. This crucial detail still allows for daylight and sunlight to filter through.

Billie Lee, director of HCL Architects, said: “The solar screens are an integral part of the architecture, providing energy, privacy and to filter light. The energy generated is transferred to the national power network while the shading allows daylight without overheating the interior. Privacy is given in a compact location, and the houses still retain an open and filtered light quality.” 

The naturally occurring decorative finish on the multi-crystalline silicon PVs, which are distributed by Romag, means that an eye-catching dappled light is created in the interiors. Each mews house has five of the 2m tall x 1.2m wide solar panels, which will generate around half of the average energy demand per day – enough to meet daily electricity requirements.

The buildings also employ a sedum roof and roof-lights over the bathrooms and staircase to maximise daylight and enable ventilation.

Integrating renewable technologies into residential buildings in this bold way is rare in Fulham. This aspect, together with the houses’ modest scale and high quality design, has enhanced the existing character and appearance of the Central Fulham Conservation Area in which it is situated.

“We enjoy that the building’s technology and ecology are an intrinsic part of the architecture, not hidden or disguised, but celebrated and enjoyed,” said Billie Lee.

For those who value architect-designed, energy efficient buildings, the Fulham Houses are available for private rent.

Consultant Team

  • Main Contractor: FCM
  • Project Manager: Phil Little
  • Structural Engineer: BMCE
  • M&E Consultant: EDP
  • Quantity Surveyor: Bond Davidson
  • CDM: Quoin 
  • Acoustic Consultant: KP Acoustics