THE BRIGHT PROBLEM- SOLVING DESIGN
Located on an ex-industrial site, Vaulted House is an unusual property in Hammersmith, London, that has used a series of ingenious vaulted skylights and light wells to create a sculptural ceiling and overcome a lack of light. Charlie Chatfield from architecture firm VPPR explains how it was done (vppr.co.uk).
Why did you choose to use skylights and which ones did you pick?
We weren’t allowed to put in any eye-level windows because they would overlook existing houses [the property is built right up against garden walls] so skylights were essential. We chose lots of standard-sized and small skylights rather than one single piece of glass, which helped to keep the overall costs down. What should you consider when installing them? Think about exactly how you want to use your space. It made sense for the main living room in this build to occupy the large, open-plan area on the upper floor, as this is where the big skylights are situated. Meanwhile, we used smaller light wells to channel shafts of daylight into each of the bedrooms on the lower floor, which would otherwise have no source of natural light.
What do the skylights add to the property and how do they influence the space?
The vaults in the ceiling (each crowned with a skylight) provide a very sculptural look, while also helping to zone the largely open-plan space. Different areas are spotlighted in the morning and afternoon, which works for the owners (who have particular areas they like to relax in throughout the day). The vaults also help to diffuse the light so that it always feels really bright. Were there any challenges with this build? The ceiling looks simple but was actually very complicated to construct. There are so many layers to it, as well as steel supports that had to be disguised. ➤
‘THE SKYLIGHTS MEAN THAT DIFFERENT AREAS OF THE HOUSE ARE SPOTLIGHTED IN THE MORNING AND AFTERNOON’