Professor and architectural designer Peter Salter took seven years to develop his concept for four custom homes in London's Notting Hill district that are constructed around a courtyard. The first images of the completed project, called Walmer Yard, have just been released.

Salter experimented with a number of volumes and materials to create rooms and circulation spaces that allow for domestic use, as well as private peace and sensory experience.

Placing an emphasis on suitability and functionality — rather than ease of construction, convenience, or cost — the design is intended as an alternative to contemporary domestic architecture. The scheme employs a combination of new, old, and non-standard materials, a method of experimentation that required a high standard of craftsmanship. As a result, hand-made, on-site fabrication is prevalent across the site.

Each house within the interlocking plan has been cast from in-situ poured concrete, and is organized around an acoustically engineered timber-lined courtyard positioned away from the street. At the uppermost level, a series of timber yurt-shaped structures — topped with tiled copper roofs — are reminiscent of the ‘pepper pots’ on the leads of Elizabethan country homes.

Internally, each floor is an single unrestricted span supported by the rectangular and elliptical stairwells. This is intended to ensure internal flexibility, while permitting light deep into each room. Each space contains a piece of black architectural furniture: a bathroom, toilet, or cupboard, constructed from steel, and finished with beeswax.

The project was developed by developer Crispin Kelly.

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