Case Study

Kay Road

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Case Study

Kay Road

Methodic Practice is a Landscape and Architecture studio based in South West London. They are the team behind, and owners, of Kay Road – a beautiful two-bedroomed house in the heart of Brixton. Colin Smith spoke with us to share the story of his business, the building of his first home, and the things that inspire his work.

Why did you decide to become an Architect and when did you decide it was time to start your own practice?

I started collaborating informally with my partner and landscape architect Stefanie Weinmann in 2001 and we set up Methodic Practice in 2002 after completing a series of small landscape and refurbishment projects. Our shared interests lie in the overlapping and mutually beneficial elements of architecture and landscape, and borrowing approaches from each discipline to enhance design and practice methodology.


What underpins your design process and ethos?

We are inspired to challenge the constraints and expose the potential of each project no matter the size and work in close collaboration with clients and consultants, maintaining a very hands-on approach. Our design default is to embed the most sustainable approach to the various constraints of site, budget and regulations.


What is the most challenging thing about being an architect today? If there was one thing you could change, what would it be?

Being distinctive, remaining relevant. If I could change one thing it would be the planning process.


Who do you admire for their sense of aesthetics? What are your sources of inspiration?

Who – Tadao Ando, Alvar Alto, Luis Barragán, Junya Ishigami, Carlo Scarpa. What – Landscapes and lifestyles of Finland, Iceland, Sicily, Andalusia, Patagonia, Italy and Germany.

How easy was it to find the location for this house?

It was quite tricky. There were few sites of a small-to-medium size, at the price point we were looking for, that were viable for undertaking a self-build. There was also a lot of competition for them with many small scale developers, or hobby developers, in the market for these types of site.


Did you have an idea of what you wanted to create before you found the site / how much was the final design influenced by the plot?

The house was completely derived from the site – layout and aesthetics were a direct result of our response to the surroundings. Construction method was the most appropriate response in spatial and environmental terms.


How did the process affect your approach to other (later) projects?

It unlocked the potential of using CLT (cross-laminated timber) with our clients on follow up projects as they could understand the product from our example, giving them confidence in the benefits of the material and approach. Through testing our designs on ourselves we can examine the results and demonstrate the value of our approach to future clients.

What is the balance between the house informing how you live and your life impacting on how the house is used?

The house enabled us to live the life we had been promoting to many clients before but hadn’t actually experienced. Now we truly practice what we preach!


If this house had a care label, what would it say?

100% natural materials – designed to improve with age!

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