Burd Haward Architects

Burd Haward Architects
24 Wolsey Mews
London NW5 2DX

T: 020 7267 9815

Brooke Coombes House

"There is no doubt that in terms of planning and design, the Brooke Coombes House is a ground-breaking project in terms of its location. Its significance, however, extends far beyond its locality.”

Architectural Design 


The practice’s first built project, the Brooke Coombes House won the RIBA Manser Medal for Best New House of the Year.  Our aim was to design a low-cost modern family home that was build-able by our client, but that was not limited by commonly understood self-build methods or materials of construction and a resulting low-tech aesthetic.  We wanted to make use of available specialist technology rather than handicraft tradition. 


The house is an economical and expansive model of (sub)urban family living, which engages with issues of sustainability and energy conservation, whilst at the same time responding to its particular surroundings - a conservation area in Ealing.


The traditional front/back relationship of the house is subverted by placing the main living accommodation in an economical strip to the north side of the site.  This is wrapped on three sides by a thick, highly insulated, terracotta-clad wall, carefully punctured with windows.  The south wall is made up of large glazed sliding doors that open up into a double height glazed courtyard.  This courtyard acts as a transitory space, both in terms of visibility and climate, and accommodates the main entrance and the staircase up to the first floor.  It allows the landscape to run through the house, and is key to the low-energy design.


“A unique modernist update on the self-build kit house”   

Tom Dyckhoff , Guardian Magazine


Client:    John Brookes & Carol Coombes
Stages:  RIBA 1 – 6

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Homes, Prototypes


RIBA Award Winner -

Civic Trust Awards - Highly Commended

RIBA Manser Medal Winner -

RIBA First Building Awards - Finalist


Evening Standard, February 2009

Sunday Times, January 2008