Knox Bhavan Architects completes pair of brownstone terraces in south London

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Knox Bhavan Architects designed this pair of sandstone residences to complete an Edwardian terrace in Dulwich, south London (+ slideshow).

London Brownstones by Knox Bhavan Architects

The street-facing facades are made from a terracotta-coloured sandstone known as brownstone and detailed with white sandstone lintels, columns and cills.

The design and proportions reflect the stucco detailing of the early-20th-century houses on either side. The two facades are also a mirror image of one other, helping to tie them together.

London Brownstones by Knox Bhavan Architects

Greg and Jenny Falzon commissioned local firm Knox Bhavan to design one of the five-bedroom houses as their family home, and the other to fund the project. They named the pair London Brownstones.

London Brownstones by Knox Bhavan Architects

"London Brownstones replace an ugly 1950s bomb damage infill building and are a contemporary reinterpretation of the Edwardian terrace," said the architects.

"They are a contemporary answer to the ubiquitous and well-loved London terraced house."

London Brownstones by Knox Bhavan Architects

"The planners advice to 'fit in' to the local context led to houses which, whilst 'fitting in' are unashamedly contemporary both inside and out," added the team.

London Brownstones by Knox Bhavan Architects

The houses share an arched porch, while a scalloped parapet runs the width of the two facades below a pair of triangular dormer windows, adding to the symmetry. The zinc-clad dormers have the same pitch as the neighbours, but the ridge is curved instead of pointed.

London Brownstones by Knox Bhavan Architects

In the shared front garden, a pair of oblong planters are used to disguise bike stores.



The rear elevation is clad in larch tongue-and-groove boards and runs diagonally to the street – a detail prescribed by planners – creating an asymmetry between the houses.

London Brownstones by Knox Bhavan Architects

This facade features gently curved eaves that are intended to soften the demarcation between roof and wall. Four angled bay windows project through the cladding from the upper floor bedrooms.

London Brownstones by Knox Bhavan Architects

The ground floor of each house is occupied by an open-plan lounge, dining space and kitchen that gives clear sight-lines the depth of the building.

Full-height doors, white walls and pale timber fittings were used to create the illusion of space within the narrow 200-square-metre plan.

London Brownstones by Knox Bhavan Architects

The worktop and polished concrete floors in the slightly sunken kitchens continue through concertina glass doors to patios sheltered beneath a glass canopy.

London Brownstones by Knox Bhavan Architects

Upstairs, a split-level arrangement can accommodate five bedrooms around a family bathroom. A bespoke timber staircase unites all levels of the house.

London Brownstones by Knox Bhavan Architects

"No space is wasted on the upper floors and the use of curves in plan and section makes the house feel unique flowing and special," said the architects.

Photography is by Dennis Gilbert.


Project credits:

Architect: Knox Bhavan
Architects contractor: Denis Kostenko
Building services structural engineer: Price & Myers
Client: Greg and Jenny Falzon
Services engineer: Paul Bastick Associates
Quantity surveyor: Ian Thomson & Company

London Brownstones by Knox Bhavan Architects
Site plan – click for larger image
London Brownstones by Knox Bhavan Architects
Ground floor plan – click for larger image
London Brownstones by Knox Bhavan Architects
First floor plan – click for larger image
London Brownstones by Knox Bhavan Architects
Cross section – click for larger image
London Brownstones by Knox Bhavan Architects
Long section – click for larger image
  • Kay

    This defeats the whole concept of terraced houses and adds nothing. And really we should be moving past terraced housing and being more thoughtful to the amount of land we use up to live on, particularly in London.

    Instead we should move up and re-use as much existing space as possible. If you are going to have your own take on an institutional classic, do it well. This looks like something you’d find in a theme park.

    • Swatch

      I’d live in this “theme park” any day! Nice to see a sensitive, contextual, and beautifully crafted modern infill building. Great stone work!

  • Sim

    I think it is well done with great care and very beautiful. However, in general in this type of housing in the UK, I never understand why the kitchen is – in 99% of the cases – at the back of the house.

    When I am cooking for guests I am mortified for them to see the fall out from all that effort, so then having to lead them through the kitchen in order to reach the garden on a summer night for a glass of wine in the garden.

    The living room looks out at the bicycle storage and becomes narrower due to the hallway next to it. I always wonder why the kitchen isn’t in the front, given the width of the house you could smuggle a closet for coats and shoes into the wall dividing the hall from the kitchen (I miss that in this plan), and your living room looks out at the garden rather than the street giving more privacy as well.

    Does the way this is built mean that the neighbours get extra wide gardens by the way?

    • Kamil Kibar

      I believe you are right; I’m not sure but maybe there is something manly about putting the kitchen in the back, like associating the pleasure of the garden and eating (more primitive). Those who think the “real” order of a house are usually women (hope I’m not getting sexist here).

  • Guest

    I love stone mullions, but not like this. Lego inspired, perhaps?