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Business Hands

No Space No Problem - Building a London home on a 4.5m wide plot

22 September 2015 09:00


With the Government announcing a target of 1 million homes to be built before 2020, a project by NK Architects to build a London home on a plot just 4.5m wide could soon become the norm. That’s according to Nicholas Kirk, Founder and Director or NK Architects.

The project, which was recently featured as an inspirational home on the BBC’s “The home that £100k built” is nestled between a Victoria and a Georgian terrace in the borough of Islington, North London. Built on a plot just 4.8 metre wide at ground level, the actual width of the self supporting structure had to be limited to just 4.5 metres due to the older properties either side having bowed walls. The challenges didn’t stop there. The sensitive location of the project meant that it was put under intense scrutiny by the local community requiring not just a need for architectural prowess, but some serious diplomacy skills as well.

So did Nicholas have any tips for budding self-builders facing serious plot constraints? “Make sure you accurately survey the site at the start” said Nicholas. “It sounds obvious now, but it’s not just about the plot size at ground level. If you’re building up, you need to take the cubic dimensions into account right at the beginning and plan your space wisely”. Nicholas also went on to provide 5 top tips to really maximise the amount of internal space your plot delivers.

1. Dig down. Creating a basement level can increase your floor space by up to 33%
2. Minimise wall construction
3. Use underfloor heating rather than hanging radiators on the walls
4. Embed pipe work and cabling into the building fabric. Cross Laminated Timber is a good method of construction as it allows you to rout out services into the wall structure
5. Carefully orientate the building / windows on the site to maximise views out / daylight and sunlight coming in

Above all the key message for budding self-builders is don’t leave anything to chance. Every millimetre counts on a small plot and planning meticulously in advance will save you endless headaches, not just with the build itself but with the community that your plot is situated in.


For further information on this article and the project, contact Nicholas Kirk on 0203 290 5033 or email Nicholas directly at

An excerpt featuring the property in the BBC’s “The home that £100k built” can be found here:

About NK Architects
NKA is committed to delivering excellent architecture, artworks and installations for public and private clients. We develop ideas and concepts inspired by context and culture with the aim to exceed expectations at every opportunity.
Our design process involves testing out and prototyping ideas through drawing, information exchange and model making. Research is a critical part of the practice for the continuation of our development and growth. We are adept at communicating ideas through advanced 3D visualisation and computer modelling, 2D / 3D CAD and BIM alongside a passion for ink drawings and hand sketches.

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