Cullinan Studio designs “cracked open” house with gaps to let in the light

Push-Pull House by Cullinan Studio

London architecture studio Cullinan Studio has built a house in Amersham, England, that is split it into sections to allow light to flood its interiors through the glazed gaps.

Called Push-Pull house, it has an open and light interior while the exterior remains in keeping with the area’s protected 1930s Arts and Crafts residential architecture.

Push-Pull House by Cullinan Studio

This visual continuity was combined with modern construction methods. Push-Pull House is made from a cross-laminated timber (CLT) structure that was designed in collaboration with timber specialists Eurban.

Taking these robust Arts and Crafts structures as a starting point, Cullinan Studio took a traditional house form and pulled it into three parts.

Push-Pull House by Cullinan Studio

The symmetrical main form of the home has been split into two, and now reads as two mono-pitched forms cut through by an entrance hall and stairwell.

Alongside these two forms, the roof pitch continues to slope down to create a large, open-plan living, kitchen and dining area with a glazed corner overlooking the garden.

Push-Pull House by Cullinan Studio

“The clients were really interested in a feeling of lightness inside, so this led the approach,” practice leader Roddy Langmuir told Dezeen.

“Simple massing is pushed and pulled in direct response to the setting, bringing in sunlight and daylight.”

Push-Pull House by Cullinan Studio

The main volume has been split into four around the central entrance space, with rooms occupying each corner. At ground floor level, this includes a snug, workshop study and utility room. On the level above a bedroom sits in each corner.

“Inside there is more spatial complexity, more fluidity, which is about bouncing light down through the section from high-level windows,” said Langmuir.

Push-Pull House by Cullinan Studio

The openness of the “ruptures” between each block, combined with glass balustrades, promotes visual connections across the home’s levels.

Inside, the CLT structure of the home has been left exposed, and along with white walls provides a bright contrast to the dark brick and tiling of the exterior.

Push-Pull House by Cullinan Studio

Cullinan Studio was founded by Ted Cullinan in 1965. Previous projects include the extension of a home in Hampstead, London, with a glass box providing a renewed connection to the garden.

Photography and film is by Jim Stephenson.

Project credits:

Architect: Cullinan Studio
Interior designer: Wilkinson Beven
Structural engineer: Engineers-HRW
Services engineer: Couch Perry Wilkes
Timber engineering: Eurban QS: Peter Gittins & Associates
Project Management: Sharman Whyte
Contractor: GNC Construction

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