Bespoke architecture and design practice MOCT Studio has commenced works on its 3 x 5 House project, the name a reference to the dimensions of the site in Voss Street, east London.
The project for a private client, which won planning permission last year, involves providing the full range of architectural services and transforming a tiny 3m x 5m former garage site with accessibility challenges on the cobbled mews into a beautifully considered and designed 40 sq m home.
Voss Street, which is located behind Bethnal Green Road, was traditionally occupied by lock up garages for market traders but has recently seen a string of residential conversions and redevelopments, of which 3 x 5 House is the latest.
The 3 x 5 house, though small, is less a replicable model for micro-dwelling and more akin to a Japanese ‘jutaku’; a singular response to the unique site and challenges of confined urban living. Designed to be a bespoke home rather than an affordable housing alternative or first step on the property ladder. A deliberate lack of hierarchy in domestic features allows living spaces to be used more ubiquitously, accommodating flexible forms of occupation, while volumes within the building were designed to intersect and the threshold between spaces made porous, allowing activity and light to pass through one into another.
The three-storey house challenges the constraints of the narrow site by stacking and combining volumes vertically against the rear wall, allowing freedom of opening and lighting from the single aspect. The available daylight is maximised from the north façade through a double skin veil of translucent polycarbonate, while the open kitchen occupies the lower-ground floor and is connected with the mezzanine-like raised ground floor containing a bathroom and living space. The top floor comprises a bedroom and balcony overlooking the mews. A perforated metal stair connecting the levels wraps along the side the rear flank walls and is used as a light shaft that penetrates between floors.
Mo Wong, director at MOCT Studio, said:
“Limited space and a constrained site meant that clear concepts were established at the outset of the project. These pose questions about contemporary urban living, the fabric of urban infill sites and our open, sometimes veiled, relationship to the street.”
Chris Thorn, Director at MOCT Studio added:
“For the first time the Draft New London Plan makes specific reference to small site, infill developments recognising the contribution these can make in delivering new homes for London. We know that higher densities lead to higher land prices and in turn higher purchase prices. Rather than contributing to this problem, the project shows that small highly constrained sites, previously thought unbuildable, can be usurped by taking a creative and ambitious architectural approach. 3 x 5 House is exemplar in illustrating the effort and ingenuity required to overcome these obstacles.”