My absolute dream would be to live near a cemetery. Not necessarily right on top of one, but somewhere close by would be perfect. Unlike most people, I find cemeteries to be some of the most gorgeous, peaceful, and grounding places on the face of the earth (and if you don’t believe me, then take a stroll through the mindblowingness that is Montreal’s Mont Royal Cemetery on a sunny day and you will understand exactly what I mean). So needless to say, when I saw these pics of 85 Swains Lane in London I just about shat my pants. So how does a stunning glass box pavilion home get built in a place like this?
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.
The house 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. And it gets better: you can rent 85 Swains Lane anytime you feel like by visiting their website at 85swainslane.co.uk. I would die.