Trend Spotter

Buy a house – and invite the nation in to look around

Whoever buys the Brick House,  a high profile one-off project by the acclaimed architects Caruso St John that was shortlisted for the Stirling Prize, will have a big decision to make come the autumn.  Will they open their door on 20/21 September and welcome upwards of 100 strangers to their home?

Each year since it was completed in 2005, the Brick House has been part of Open House London, the capital’s largest annual festival of architecture and design that opens 800 buildings of architectural interest to the public.

There is of course prestige and kudos in abundance, but there are also, no doubt, practical issues to overcome. The buyers will have to weigh up the pros and cons, and maybe take a lead from David Cameron who, last year, became the first prime minister to open up the famous black door for Open House London.

There is, understandably, a great interest in this fascinating house. It stands on a seemingly impossibly constricted plot amongst more conventional properties, and is built entirely, inside and out, of brick, approximately 66,000 of them say the architects. Oh, and there are concrete ceilings.

It’s a cunning combination of lateral loft-living and conventional space. Described by the respected art critic Stephen Bayley as “modest, respectful and appropriate”, this house takes the current vogue for all things flashy and trashy and turns it on its head. It is at once monastic, yet warm with the approachability so often lacking in contemporary houses. It also manages to achieve massive lateral space, so hard to find in the city.

While the Brick House looks as though it could be an art installation at The Tate Modern, it provides incredibly practical living space of 3,727 sq. ft.  including kitchen/dining/reception room, four bedrooms, en suite bathroom, two further bathrooms, study, cloakroom and utility room.

Nick Crayson