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“I like projects that are difficult or … that have big constraints,” architect Gianni Botsford told Azure not long ago. His so-called House in a Garden, recently completed in London’s Notting Hill, certainly fulfills those criteria: It’s a strikingly designed pavilion with a sinuous copper-clad roof and a two-storey basement wedged into a small plot in the heart of a bustling neighbourhood. 

According to the architect, one of the greatest challenges that the project presented was the effective lack of light. To address it, Botsford and his team introduced two light wells to bring daylight and greenery (courtesy of subterranean walls draped in wisteria, vines and silver-veined creepers) down to the first underground level and then to the lowest floor through skylights. Light now radiates off the surrounding glass and walls on these storeys, aided by the clever use of reflective surfaces and carved marble.

Of course, the project’s most visible element – both internally and externally – is undoubtedly the roof, which outside is clad in sweeping deep-brown copper and inside consists of a honeycomb-like glulam-timber framework that culminates 6.5 metres up in a slanted glazed oculus. 

“This project is innovative in so many ways – the way it brings light to the subterranean levels, the techniques used to build it on such a tight site. It’s a stunning achievement.”
Pat Hanson

For all of its drama, however, House in a Garden is very much that: a serene, oasis-like structure in the centre of the busy capital, its presence largely unheralded until you happen upon it.

AZ Awards category Architecture: Single-Family Houses Project House in a Garden Location London, U.K. Firm Gianni Botsford Architects, London, U.K. Team Gianni Botsford with Paulo Martinho, James Eagle, Kate Darby, Steve Atkinson, Richard Pearce, Eric Cheung, Leslie Clark, Todd Longstaffe-Gowan, Ziomek Wiertelak, Kasia Kujawa, Luca Pignotti, Daniel Kressig and Paul Roles

Winner: Single-Family Houses
AZ Awards 2019 Winner: House in a Garden

Nestled into its urban context, this Notting Hill home by Gianni Botsford is the winner in Architecture: Single-Family Houses.

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2020
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2021
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2014
Award of MeritSingle-Family Houses
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Alain Carle with Isaniel Lévesque, Jean-François Marceau and Cuong Tran