Black House


  • Andrew Maynard Architects
  • Sargant Constructions


With the impending arrival of a baby, Bill & Tracey’s existing apartment needed a radical rethink for them to resist retreating to the suburbs.
A lace-like stair and a mess swallowing floor are just two of the ideas employed to convert this two storey apartment into a family friendly home.

Key Features


Armed with hindsight of raising my own child, my concerns were more than simply creating additional space. The radical changes a baby brings to your life was what I was keen to tackle. The endless management of ‘stuff’ was the key, with gravity conspiring in the child\’s favour. Parents constantly pick things up, while kids throw them down. At Black house we have made gravity the parents ally rather than the child’s. Lets design a floor that swallows junk. Rather than picking toys up to put back in the toy box, lets make the floor one big toybox.


The folded steel stair occupies the central void of the apartment, this space has multiple functions: light well, storage, and command centre (office). We have tried to create a stair that feels like lace, difficult considering the constant live loads it is under. The solution was the use of folded steel sheet – and by perforating and powder coating this steel, the effect was a delicate cloud like element floating in the space. It allows light to travel to the lower level, provides visual connection, and allows for conversation between the two levels of the apartment.

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