Slip House, designed by the renowned architect Carl Turner as his own home, is one of London’s most celebrated recent buildings. Awarded the prestigious RIBA Manser Medal (given to the best house in the UK) in 2013, it was described by the judges as an “exemplary low-energy home… [with] refined quality of spaces”. Houses of such distinction are rarely constructed in the capital, and it is surely destined to enjoy a privileged place in the architectural history of the city.
Slip House can be found on a quiet, tree-lined residential road on the borders of Brixton and Clapham. As the designer, writer and presenter Kevin McCloud has said, the house is something of an “urban sanctuary”. It forms part of small terrace that includes a celebrated eco house (sold by The Modern House in 2012), another impressive house by Carl Turner (currently under construction) and a further eco house that has recently gained planning permission.
The house is largely constructed from translucent glass, steel and concrete and is arranged over three floors plus a large roof garden at the top in what Turner calls “a simple, sculptural form of three cantilevered boxes (or slipped) boxes”. The second floor is given over to an open plan kitchen / dining / living room. This wonderful space has full-height glazing at either end and is distinguished by exquisite bespoke cabinetry and fitted kitchen. As can be expected from a house designed by Turner, the attention to detail and the sensitivity to materials is exemplary throughout. In the words of the judges of the RIBA Manser Medal, the “house is immaculate in its detail, co-ordination and execution”.
The first floor features a master bedroom with en suite bathroom and a second bedroom. The ground floor is currently used as a studio / entertaining space but has been designed so that it can be simply transformed to create a further two bedrooms or a second reception room and third bedroom. The space leads out onto a small rear courtyard garden and has a WC (with fitting for a shower) and kitchen area. Such is the layout of the house that it has the potential to become a ground floor apartment with a two-storey maisonette above. There is an off-street parking space at the front of the house, which is accessed via electric gates. Further parking is easy to find on the streets (for which a permit can be obtained).
The house has achieved a rare 5 rating in The Code for Sustainable Homes and it achieves a remarkable A rating on its energy performance certificate. Triple glazing, PV-T panels (generating both hot water and heating) and wildflower roofs are just some of the many features that have helped it achieved such credentials, although, as the judges of the RIBA Manser Medal have said, “at no point do the sustainable ambitions of the project crowd out or dominate the refined quality of the spaces that are created”. Turner himself has noted in his recent book Small that “the house is performing brilliantly – once the heating is turned off it take a good 12 hours for the temperature to drop a degree or two”.
The house is approximately ten minutes walk from three Underground stations – Clapham North, Clapham Common and Brixton. There are also mainline train stations at Brixton and Clapham High Street (and, a little further afield, at Clapham Junction). There are numerous buses that go into central London.
The area is rich in places to eat out and things to do. Venn Street in Clapham is particularly notable for its cafes and restaurants and the vibrancy of Brixton’s eating out scene is well documented. The village, Market Row and Acre Lane are all well-trodden destinations. There is also a superb mixture of supermarkets and independent food shops in the area. Both Clapham and Brixton also have weekly farmers markets.
There are two independent cinemas in the area and for green space there is Clapham Common and Brockwell Park, the latter well known of its open air lido.
The house has a 10 Year NHBC Warranty.
Please note that all areas, measurements and distances given in these particulars are approximate and rounded. The text, photographs and floor plans are for general guidance only. The Modern House has not tested any services, appliances or specific fittings — prospective purchasers are advised to inspect the property themselves. All fixtures, fittings and furniture not specifically itemised within these particulars are deemed removable by the vendor.
Slip House has been widely celebrated since its completion in 2012. Below are a selection of comments collected from a variety of sources:
“Amid the… terraces of London’s Brixton, the Slip House is… based on the idea of ‘slipped’ boxes, its three floors are progressively slid and staggered to break up its bulk and optimise light and views. The upper floor and street frontage are wrapped in vertical planks of milkily translucent glass that veil and soften the cantilevered volumes. After dark, the translucent box glows seductively like a Chinese lantern….
The Slip House’s ecological credentials are also impeccable… The [Manser Medal] jury was impressed by the ambition of the project to develop a house type that, while undoubtedly both formally sophisticated and environmentally responsive, also suggested a more engaged approach to dynamics of urban and domestic life.”
“This elegant and confident project is a prototype house composed of multiple standard elements. Yet the executed design is a highly personal solution, which results in a humane interior environment…. Inside and out this house is immaculate in its detail, coordination and execution.
The project demonstrates an admirable commitment to the creation of an exemplar low-energy house, with a suite of sustainable enhancements that are integrated effectively into the building design… But at no point do the sustainable ambitions of the project crowd out or dominate the refined quality of the spaces that are created.”
Judge’s Citation, RIBA Manser Medal 2013
“The building is comprised of three slipped orthogonal boxes which break up the bulk of the building and give it a sculptural quality. A steel frame structure allows an open plan and means that the organisation of the space can be easily transformed at a later date if required. The cantilevered form of the building enables maximum levels of solar radiation to be harnessed during the winter, whilst avoiding excess solar heat in summer.”
Angeles Hevia, Architects Journal
“The insulation is so good and the house so draught-proof that it meets code five in sustainability (super-high) and is often comfortably warm inside in winter with no heating on at all. It is, says Carl, one of the UK’s most efficient houses.
But none of this would be any good if it looked like a badly knitted jumper. The interior is modern and tranquil, an effect helped by its structure of concrete panels that came on a lorry from Cornwall, fixed to a steel frame, with a concrete staircase running up one side of the building, like a strip of folded paper.
The concrete is softened visually by being polished. The walls are white, interspersed with sliding doors of gently whitened birch ply, all done by Carl and his team over a 14-month build completed in 2012, when Carl took the summer off and his brother, Neil, was site foreman.”
Philippa Stockley, Evening Standard
“We presented the planners with what we wanted… an outstanding low energy prototype house (what I wanted), serene, timeless, and monastic (what my partner warned), that could demonstrate that a new house could be beautiful.”
The house has been the recipient of, and shortlisted for, numerous awards:
2012 WAN World House of the year: Shortlisted to last 6. Only UK house on shortlist.
2013 Architizer A+ Awards, single residential dwelling longlisted and special mention: global housing award.
2013 NLA Awards, shortlisted in house category.
2013 AR House awards Highly Commended, published in AR, world best house award only UK house in last 10.
2013 Homes & Property Eco Living Award, Highly Commended (runner-up) for best Eco House category.
2013 RIBA London Regional Award Winner.
2013 RIBA National award Winner – only London house awarded.
2013 RIBA Manser Medal Winner for best UK house.
2013 RIBA Stephen Lawrence Award for best building under £1m – Shortlisted.
2013 Architect of the Year Awards – Winner best one off house category.