Elliot House | Eldridge-Smerin Architects

Overlooking a cemetery Elliot House by Eldridge-Smerin Architects makes a bold, dynamic statement with its black granite façade, while the interior makes an even more daring statement regarding its design. The house reveals its true temperament when it is seen from among the gravestones of the upper section of Highgate Cemetery; the building opens up to the lush and sprawling graveyard through glazing and elevated balconies.  Elliot House replaced a building which was constructed in the 1970s, which was found to be at risk of structural failure.  The site was originally sold off by the cemetery many years ago; the graveyard is home to Karl Marx, Christina Rossetti, George Eliot and the graves of many other writers and artists.  The gothic character was amplified after becoming abandoned and overgrown in the 1970s; today, it is in the hands of the Friends of Highgate Cemetery.  Furthermore, during the construction procedure and the uncluttering of the cemetery, Elliot discovered that the grave of his own great grandfather – who he always assumed had been buried in Scotland – was just thirty feet away!

Elliott House is a four storey building which has been designed on a slope; it takes full advantage of the sloping landscape and maximizes the linkages with the graveyards landscape by arranging the program of the house.  By doing so, Eldridge-Smerin Architects have placed the main living spaces on the last floor.  The main living quarters consist of both communal and private spaces; an open plan kitchen and dining area which features a retractable roof, but also opens up to a furnished balcony, a study and a master bedroom are also situated on the upper floor, creating an autonomous living area for travel photographer Richard Elliott.  The other floors are mainly used by Elliott’s visitors, a large living room on the second floor with large openings that reach out to the landscape, guest bedrooms on the first floor, and a home cinema in the basement.  According to Richard Elliott who was also trained as a chartered surveyor apart from being a travel photographer, “the design was all about making the most of the views and the environment around the house.  The position of the house by the cemetery is by far the most important consideration and we really wanted to embrace that.”. Continue here

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