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9 Parkside Avenue

Complex series of interlocking spaces within a simple overall volume, the house has references to the dramatic and hidden sources for lighting spaces seen in Baroque churches and the work of Sir John Soane. Sustainable features include solar panels.


Holden Harper



9 Parkside Avenue SW19 5ES

Sat 1pm-5pm. Regular tours with architect/owner Richard Holden.


  • Architect on site

9 PARKSIDE AVENUE The reaction of most people when entering any architect’s house is usually ecstasy or horror. However, to borrow from a tired political expression, there is a ‘third way’: a sensation of ‘homeliness’. The American architect Louis Kahn said ‘I build houses, people turn them into homes”. In essence this is what Holden + Partners and the design of 9 Parkside Avenue try to achieve: building a house in such a way that it can be readily made into a home. 9 Parkside Avenue was originally a 1950s standard housing developer’s ‘box’ house. The house has been extended and remodeled over the past few years (and continues to be worked on). The original main entrance, cloak rooms and bathrooms overlooked the south facing garden with the master bedroom and living rooms overlooking the tiny north facing courtyard garden. The house has been re-orientated so that there is a new entrance front on the road and all the principal rooms overlook the main south garden. The design of the house does not conform to either of the current trends in domestic architecture: it is neither a high tech/minimal modern house or a ‘chocolate box’ cottage. However this does not mean that we are dumbing down the level of architecture to the mundane. Internally the architecture of the house is influenced by the spatial theories and attention to detail of the English Free School/Arts and Crafts movement and also the ‘Roundplan’ concept of Adolf Loos: a complex series of centralized interlocking spaces within a simple overall volume. References to the dramatic and hidden sources for lighting spaces in Baroque churches and of the work of John Soane are also evident in the entrance and main living areas. Externally the house does not try to reveal or give clues to what is happening inside. In this respect it follows some of the theories set out by the American architects Robert Venturi and Charles Moore; particularly Venturi’s book ‘Complexity and Contradiction’ whereby the exterior of the house does not bear a significant relationship to what happens inside.