Tucked away on a site in London’s W11 is a 247 square meter house; it is essentially a roof and a hole in the ground. Built by Gianno Botsford this contemporary house was occupied by a 1960’s bungalow which had been built in the back garden of an 1840’s Notting Hill villa. Since 2010, Botsford has been imagining the design for this amazing building, on this tiny plot of land. The house is overshadowed by houses on three sides, so planning permission would not have been granted for anything over one storey tall; hence 2 subterranean levels were dug out for the main areas; and within the ground floor, he utilises light wells and skylights to distribute light to all the lower levels. The plot, which is north facing; and was only accessible via a narrow passage from the road, created more problems during construction.

The result, as you can see, is a remarkable structure in concrete, copper and timber. The open plan ground floor has glazing on two sides and a complex roof that curves upwards to form a skylight. This has been likened to something of a cross between a ship’s funnel and a ski jump. Using digital tools of analysis, the three-dimensional roof has been positioned to draw light into the building, no matter what time of day.

The lightwells on either side of the building, allow daylight down to the bedroom level and to a ten-metre swimming pool further below.

The use of copper surfaces and marble walls help to reflect the light and intensify the available daylight. The roof, manufactured in Italy, was designed and installed in eight sections; which had to be craned over the surrounding buildings and sheathed in copper will oxidise over time.