Threefold Architects


  • A house without a footprint

Ladderstile is a contemporary courtyard house and stables directly adjacent to Richmond Park. The client sought to demolish the dilapidated 1950’s building which occupied the site to replace it with an uncompromisingly modern building.

The highly sensitive site lies alongside Richmond Park, London's largest ‘Site of Special Scientific Interest’, and is located within the Local Conservation Area and on a private road owned by the Royal Parks. After several previously unsuccessful planning applications, Threefold undertook careful negotiations with the Local Planning Authority, local community and the Royal Parks and successfully secured planning permission under delegated powers.

Informed by classical Roman courtyard houses the ground floor spaces are arranged around a central external space, an approach which optimises the plot and connects every part of the house through the garden. The post and beam structural timber framework which organises the ground floor spaces supports the pair of volumes at first floor which contain living spaces and bedrooms. One wrapped in a veil of laser cut stainless steel which echoes the foliage of the parkland providing privacy and shade, the second wrapped entirely in plants has a large external terrace with views across the park.

The design implements innovative structural and environmental technologies. The prefabricated solid timber panels and glulam columns and beams enabled the main body of the house to be erected in under two weeks. Eight geothermal boreholes provide the energy for the heating, hot water and heated swimming pool. The house has virtually no running cost. The buildings’ carbon footprint is further reduced by the use of sustainably-sourced materials, sedum roofs, solar shading and high levels of insulation.

Ladderstile House was completed in February 2009 and has since been shortlisted for the Evening Standard Homes and Property Awards, ‘Best Eco Home’ & ‘Best New Family Home’.

Project data

Client: Confidential

Type: Residential 

Area: 5,400 sqft

Status: Completed

Location: West London

Photographs by Nick Kane and Jonny Holland (photo © Nick Kane)