Forest Houses / Dallas-Pierce-Quintero

Architects: Dallas-Pierce-Quintero
Area: 3,550 Square Feet (330 Square Meters)
Year: 2021
Photographs: French + Tye
Manufacturers: Velfac
Planning Consultant: Murdoch Associates
Contractor: BATS Ilford Ltd
Structural Engineer: Fold
Quantity Surveyor: Andrew D Smith
Arboricultural Consultant: Charles McCorkell Arboricultural Consultancy
Client: BATS Ilford Ltd
Building Control: MLM
City: Wanstead Flats, Newham, London
Country: United Kingdom

The “Forest Houses” project, located at the edge of Newham’s Wanstead Flats, showcases the transformation of a former builder’s yard into innovative residential units. Designed by D-P-Q, this architectural endeavor includes a 3-bedroom family house and two smaller 2-bedroom homes, along with the remodel and extension of a former shop into a 1-bedroom house. Emphasizing an “upside-down” house design, the most actively used living areas are situated on the upper floors to capitalize on the panoramic views and natural light, enhancing the connection with the serene parkland surroundings. The design carefully addresses site constraints through clever massing and orientation, reflecting a deep respect for the existing urban fabric.

Forest houses / dallas-pierce-quintero

Forest Houses mark the transformation of a former builder’s yard into three new homes, including a 3-bedroom family house and two smaller 2-bedroom houses. This initiative also involves the remodeling and extension of a former end-of-terrace shop, which now hosts a 1-bedroom home at the entrance to the site.

The site, enclosed by a row of terrace houses at the front and Wanstead Flats’ parkland at the rear, presented a unique challenge. The client aimed to maximize the potential of this underutilized and restricted brownfield site, requiring a solution that would respect the neighboring properties through thoughtful orientation and massing. Previous planning permission attempts had failed to utilize the plot effectively. D-P-Q employed an iterative design approach, using models and ongoing discussions with planners to achieve a solution that harmonizes with the adjacent structures.

D-P-Q’s ethos of maximizing ‘spaces in-between’ is evident in the layout of the homes. At the ground level, the bedroom layouts of all homes interlock around lightwells and private courtyards, ensuring privacy and ample natural light, while maximizing the number of units possible on the restricted site.

The most frequently used living spaces are positioned on the projecting first floor, where large windows offer expansive views over Wanstead Flats and enhance the indoor-outdoor connection. The homes face north towards the Flats to minimize overlooking neighbors and feature a distinctive sawtooth roof that mirrors the adjacent homes’ eave heights. The external glazing reflects the natural environment, anchoring the development within its context.

The material palette, inspired by the site’s history as a builder’s yard and the traditional masonry of the terraces, includes responsibly sourced materials chosen for their durability, recyclability, and availability. Brick creates a plinth-like appearance at the ground level and extends to form the plot’s boundary walls. The first-floor structures are built from prefabricated cross-laminated timber panels, combining traditional and modern construction methods for sustainable, efficient homes.

This approach led to a viable and efficient construction program, with the client taking on the contractor role for the first time. The brickwork was completed swiftly, followed by the assembly of timber elements in less than five days, all clad in galvanized metal to form a textured, unified external appearance. Inside, the structural elements remain visible, with white, exposed blockwork complemented by tactile timber structures, fostering a connection with the surrounding trees.

Forest houses / dallas-pierce-quintero
Project Gallery

Project Location

Address: Wanstead Flats, Newham, London, United Kingdom

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