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Fijal House is a new family house set within Ely’s central conservation area. The house replaced a garage on land originally intended as an additional plot when the street was laid out in 1905, and now sits between the two Edwardian detached houses. The architectural expression of the brick clad house is a contemporary interpretation of the Edwardian differentiation between the plain flank walls and the decorative fronts. The vertical saw-tooth rhythm of the front elevation is derived from the engaged stone columns at the entrance to Ely cathedral, and created with a fully bonded brick set at ninety degree angles, with specials at the two sides. The entrance recess is set under a precast concrete lintol which spans into the front elevation and above the window of the front room, and is lined in coloured encaustic tiles.

The house is constructed from a prefabricated timber frame, with internal ground floor and internal walls in concrete screed and dense concrete blockwork for additional thermal mass. Sunlight is brought into the house throughout the day by the roof lights on the south side, set above the dining area and stairs. The upper floor sits under a steep pitched roof with exposed rafters. The pitch is taken from the nave of the cathedral; the standing seam roof reminiscent of the cathedral’s lead roof. This gives the modest bedrooms a sense of scale and character unusual in a suburban house.

The internal layout is designed for a degree of flexibility. Our clients wanted a house that could open up for large parties but have acoustic separation between rooms when in daily family use. The materials are simple; dark stone floor, pale ash wall linings, with the upstairs carpeted. Curved details internally are a contrast to the angular external forms.

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