Slip House provides template for future affordable and sustainable family homes


June 19, 2013

Slip House, by Carl Turner Architects

Slip House, by Carl Turner Architects

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Slip House, by UK-based Carl Turner Architects, fits neatly into a four-plot lot between a row of terraced houses in Brixton, London. However, it's not quite your typical two-up-two down, as the prototype family home combines sustainable technologies with an unusual design based on three "slipped" orthogonal boxes.

Though located on a residential street, Slip House is actually built on a brownfield site, formerly used for industrial or commercial purposes. Its overall form consists of three slipped orthogonal box shapes, arranged to take full advantage of available natural light, and afford the best possible views.

The interior is open-plan, and makes use of the three boxes to create a distinct zone for each part of the 200 sq m (2,150 sq ft) home. The upper box is the primary living space, and connects to a private roof terrace with wildflower garden. The middle box contains sleeping quarters and bathing facilities, while the ground-floor box is left as a multi-purpose space.

To conform to Code for Sustainable Homes Level 5, Slip House incorporates a 2,700 liter (713 US gallon) rainwater harvesting tank, solar panels, mechanical ventilation, triple glazing, and a high level of insulation. In addition, a solar-powered ground-source heat pump appears to provide all necessary hot water for the property, but we've reached out to the architects for confirmation on this point.

In all, Carl Turner Architects did its sums and came up with the figure of 1092.73 kg (1.2 ton) of CO2 saved per year thanks to the sustainable technologies employed within Slip House.

The property is now used by Carl Turner Architects as a prototype for in-house research toward making sustainable homes more affordable and practicable on a wider scale.

Slip House was completed in late 2012, and was a recent winner of RIBA's 2013 National Awards.

Source: Carl Turner Architects via Arch Daily

About the Author
Adam Williams Adam scours the globe from his home in North Wales in order to bring the best of innovative architecture and sustainable design to the pages of Gizmag. Most of his spare time is spent dabbling in music, tinkering with old Macintosh computers and trying to keep his even older VW bus on the road. All articles by Adam Williams
6 Comments IMO; all it needs is a pneumatic elevator to make look like something from the future.

I think it is really nice and would not mind living in a similar house.


And we will all live in boxes...What ever happened to geodesic domes? They are easy to build, cost efficient, energy saving, and plenty of space. and cheap to make....



Probably not a best design in current city environment.

Kris Lee

this house was neither inexpensive, nor built particularly sustainable, no matter how many solar panels you slap on to make it "save carbon" you can see a uk show call 'grand design' about it's build season 12 episode 3.


I think it would be a great editorial policy for Gizmag to compare all architectural claims to the 2,000-watt annual per-person consumption ceiling proposed by the Zurich's Federal Institute of Technology. Broadly, researchers at the institute developed a model for global consumption that would be sustainable if adopted by a majority of the developed world. I am not trying to be offensive (in either sense), but anybody can claim "Greenness." Performance against this metric is verifiable, specific, and useful.

Mac McDougal

Hi Mac McDougal, I'm reading this:

I looked it up to figure out what you were talking about because 2000-watt annual energy consumption seemed like a mistake. The article APPEARS to confirm this number but it's misleading. It claims that the average consumption of energy in Switzerland in 1960 was 2000-watts per year per person. It goes on to claim that the current average consumption per year in the US is 12,000 watts per year.

A 100 watt light bulb burns 100 watts PER HOUR. 20 hours of using a 100 watt bulb burns 2000 watts. Swiss citizen in 1960 did not spend most nights in the dark.

Oh, and 1 horsepower is about 746 watts. A typical moped has 2 horsepower. One person riding a moped burns 2000 watts within less than 2 hours of riding.

The sources of this 2000-watt per year number are confusing. In the middle of the paper is this:

"A really worthwhile proposal was made in 1998 by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich – the 2000- Watt Society. In this scenario each person in the developed world would cut their overall rate of energy use to no more than 2,000 watts – 17,520 kilowatt-hours per year for all energy use, by the year 2050 – by a range of energy efficiency measures."

17,520 kilowatts works out to 2000 watts PER HOUR in a 365 day year counting all 24 hours in the cycle. It's not 2000 watts per year! It's a year that averages to 2 kilowatt-hours of continuous use.

What a TERRIBLE catch phrase!! They use 2000 watts per year all over the paper!! It confused me when I read it and it angers me now. There are LOTS of people who know how to read the top of a lightbulb and who assume that ecologists are unreasonable eco-fascists. The phrase, "2000 watts per year" is KINDLING for an ugly fire.

As for the general idea. 17.5 thousand kilowatts per person per year is an interesting goal. I'd like to see it stated in the form of impact rather than usage. Stated in usage terms it strike me as a product of a community that cares about the planet AND is irritated by bourgeois capitalistic behaviors.

Timothy Rohde
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