Continuing up Swains lane as promised….
Leaving the cemeteries behind, the road narrows into a little country lane…
…which you would presume just led up to Highgate. And it does, but, round that bend are three houses built into the old West cemetery many years ago – as yet I have not discovered by whom but leave it with me. However, over the last 20 they been transformed, one by one.
So, as you round the bend, this is what you see, discreetly lining the left hand side of the road.
The first house was designed by architects Eldridge Smerin and replaced an earlier ‘architecturally significant’ Grade 2 listed house built, in 1967, by architect John Winter for himself. Given Winter’s reputation and the ‘significance’ of the building it seems quite surprising that planning gave permission for it to be razed and replaced. Here is an article about it in The Modern House.
Anyhow, they did – and there is no doubt that Eldride Smerin’s replacement is a truly spectacular glass creation which has the most stunning views over the old cemetery.
For a good selection of pictures of the inside see the Fresh Locations site. This was obviously the first of the three original houses to be given ‘the treatment’ – as you can see from this image, its neighbours are still quite old school.
Not for long….
Next door is now Eidolon House, the winners of the the 2014 Sunday Times Awards for best British Home. It was created by Dominic McKenzie Architects. The street side is ‘clad in mirror-polished stainless steel reflecting the trees opposite and highlighting the changing seasons. Its name refers both to the reflective cladding and the neighbouring cemetery: in Ancient Greek, Eidolon means phantom, apparition or double image.‘
And it is totally amazing.
And then finally to Valhalla…. created, in 2016, by Denizen Works.
I quote from the Denizen’s site:
‘Our clients had grown weary of comparison to their neighbours and asked Densizen Works to give new life to their street elevation converting it from a tired piece of mid-twentieth century modernism to a contextual and poetic piece of architecture. Viewed from up or down the hill, the new elevation appears closed, but on moving past the house, a ghost of the original house is visible. The project references the nearby Highgate cemetery and plays on the reflective material qualities of the immediate neighbour. The charred larch creates a contrast between the two properties, one reflecting the living trees opposite and ours clad in black, traumatised wood.‘
And then you continue up the lane until you arrive in Highgate at the rather less attractive transmission tower surrounded by its jumble of sheds and lockups!
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