Carl Turner


Keith Collie

The origins of the term are unclear but thought to derive from Ancient Rome. Suburbs literally means ‘at the foot of the city’–and beneath the concentration of wealth and power upon the Roman hills.

In Britain it is perhaps more of a state of mind than reality, just as the sentimental notion of London as city of villages harks back to a long-obsolete geography. Suburbia is found within urban conurbations by definition but is losing its semi-rural character. The Green Belt may have prevented unchecked sprawl but has led to pressure and increased density within these suburban heavens. Emotive terms such as garden-grabbing have characterised middle class resistance to this increasing pressure to urbanise. Metroland is changing fast.

The humble extension, the staple work of the majority of small practices, is part of that quest for space. Georgian and Victorian housing stock provides the basis for a growing desire to live less confined by cellular structures than in the past. Our Slat House project exemplifies this modernisation process, dramatically altering and extending an archetypal suburban 1930s house.

Opal House reworks a semi-detached villa in celebrity-crammed Primrose Hill, while Slip House sets out to demonstrate how suburbia can respond to changing working patterns and allow flexibility to work at home or sub-let space as required.

Home from Home was installed at MUDE, Museum of Design and Fashion in Lisbon. Although in the heart of the city, it sits within this section as the project references typical British suburban housing, its meaning and psychology.