The Old Tennis Club

Two houses on a backland site in Clapham.

London, UK
Sector: Residential
Project Status: Proposal

The site is a back-land site approached via an existing lane in south London, which is bounded by the gardens of 2-3 storey houses. The neighbouring houses are all set back from the boundary by the length of the garden.

The site has a number of mature trees both within it and close to its boundaries. It is proposed that these are seen as screening devices separating this site from the neighbouring gardens.

A key objective is to create dwellings with a great sense of privacy for future occupants and existing neighbours, and the placement of windows and control of views has been central to the development of the design. It is proposed that the lower level views are controlled by the perimeter fencing, planting, existing and proposed trees and the massing of the proposed houses, and the first floor views are controlled by louvers to the facades.

The houses are conceived from the first principles of passive design- the proposals respond to the site and context to promote solar ingress in the winter, and shading in the summer, sunny gardens, and natural through ventilation. The thermal mass of the internal structure will help to control the thermal fly wheel of heat gains and losses. A green roof will further promote biodiversity and control rainwater run off and is an established technical solution.

There are two houses proposed, both of a similar scale. The passive approach to the design ensures that the houses open up to the south and the solar orientation of the site, with relatively few openings to the north.

The house is seen as a ground floor ‘pavilion’ with a large oversailing mansard roof containing the bedrooms. The ground floor opens onto the gardens that surround the house and encourages a dialogue with nature.

The mansard roof starts at first floor level and twists through the site opening up towards the south towards the sun. The house is largest on the ground floor and reduces in footprint on the first floor where the roof space contains five bedrooms and three bathrooms. In the basement, a media room, swimming pool, games room, plant areas, storage, and utility room are provided.

On this south side of the houses the elevations are fully glazed with triple glazed timber sliding folding doors. On the first floor, beyond the glazing is a protected area and a continuous screen of external louvers controlling sunlight and views. This ‘sunspace’ helps to moderate the internal climate of the house allowing it to be fully opened up during the summer but kept in shade, and in the winter allows the low sun to enter the house.

The houses are pulled back from the boundaries of the site and the angles of the roof are at all times kept substantially within the BRE guidelines of 25 degrees from the centre of the ground floor windows of neighbouring properties.

Gianni Botsford


Projects by sector

Projects by status

About Gianni Botsford Architects


Read more


Gianni Botsford Architects Ltd
Second Floor
65 Jeddo Road
London W12 9ED


T +44 (0)20 7434 2277