85 Swains Lane is set over four floors with balconies, terraces and a sizable sliding glass rooflight enabling the top floor to become an open-air court. The elevations facing the cemetery are largely glazed, filling the interior with natural light and washing the concrete structural frame and walls with sunlight. In contrast, to the street a sheer façade of black granite, glass and black steel panels set flush to one another echoes the massiveness of the cemetery wall. This gives the house an air of mystery and intrigue whilst also making reference to the monumental masonry of the cemetery.
Inspired by another Eldridge Smerin house on Highgate Hill the owner of a nearby house approached the practice about designing a new building where an existing 1970’s house stood. The existing house was designed by the noted architect John Winter and sat next to Highgate Cemetery, London’s greatest Victorian cemetery. The location offers spectacular views over the cemetery, Waterlow Park and the city skyline beyond.
Text provided by Eldridge Smerin