Faced with a long thin plot which adjoins the River Thames at its far end, the architects at Selencky Parsons created a contemporary residence with plenty of water features. The River House showcases a simple geometry, a modern silhouette easily noticeable within its natural surroundings: “The articulation of the form has been rigorously pared down to two contrasting interacting elements consisting of crisp white, predominantly horizontal, folding planes inlaid with richly textured randomized vertical timber battens.” The untreated, responsibly sourced Iroko wood  (traditionally used in boat building), references the river and allows the white planes to float.

An open layout stood at the basis of the design, with various spaces floating into one another. “The approach to the house bridges across a water feature which acts as a lightwell for the basement accommodation. A double height space which affords views through to the rear garden marks the entrance whilst a sculpture set within a glazed niche draws you through the house.” According to the architects, the aim of the project was to create a very sustainable house without it being defined by it or having to compromise in aesthetics. From photo-voltaic panels to green roofs, the residence is said to combine both high-tech and low-tech responses to the clients’ needs. [Photography by Jim Stephenson]