Hong Kong


The Oval Partnership Architecture Ltd is the London studio of an international group of architects, urbanists, designers and researchers.

A member of theOctagonpartnership

©The Oval Partnership Architecture Ltd

ProjectSouth London House
BriefNew Self-Build House
DateCompleted 2018
LocationDeptford, London
"Really hard working architecture that creates beauty out of almost nothing"
Grand Designs House of the Year Show, 2019

“An enchanting, urban fairy-tale. It demonstrates what can be achieved in a complex and highly constrained urban space through good communication with neighbours, careful and intelligent design, and a planning authority willing to engage in dialogue”
Judges’ comments, Civic Trust Awards 2021

Completed in 2018, the house was designed by Oval UK Director Jonathan Pile as a family home for himself, partner and five year old son. It is inserted into a tightly constrained site behind buildings on Deptford High Street, overlooking Thomas Archer’s Grade I Listed St Paul’s church.

Highly Commended 2021 Civic Trust Awards
RIBA London Region 2019 Award Winner
Shortlisted for the 2019 Stephen Lawrence Prize
Nominated for RIBA House of the Year 2019
Shortlisted for the AJ Retrofit Awards
Highly Commended 2019 Structural Timber Awards

From the RIBA jury’s citation:
“This courtyard house offers a new typology for reusing complex and under-utilised urban sites. It makes the most of the site and responds sensitively to the Grade I Listed St Paul’s Church through its scale and use of black-stained timber, which references earlier timber-clad houses prevalent in Deptford in the 17th and 18th Centuries. The timber sits modestly above the original brick wall that borders the site from the street.

The building’s layout capitalises on the irregularly shaped site through an ingenious arrangement of rectilinear spaces for the bedrooms and bathrooms. These are united by irregular living space arranged around a courtyard. Glazing from this space provides a point of reference as you move through the house, and maximises the stunning views beyond the brick wall to St Paul’s. The use of exposed timber, particularly in the top-lit living space, creates a warm, welcoming, unique family home.

The house establishes a successful relationship with its surrounding neighbours and maintains their privacy through the use of carefully located windows with deep reveals and oblique views; they are never directly overlooked. The architect has adeptly managed multiple party wall awards and the sewer running below the site to deliver a successful project.

South London House has quietly made a significant contribution to the urban quality in this area. Its clever layout and use of materials offer a blueprint for transforming similarly awkward urban sites. It is a wonderful family home which offers a calming retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life.”