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15 Torriano Cottages

A Grade II Listed Building in Kentish Town, London

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Latitude: 51.5504 / 51°33'1"N

Longitude: -0.1343 / 0°8'3"W

OS Eastings: 529453

OS Northings: 185146

OS Grid: TQ294851

Mapcode National: GBR FQ.0T8

Mapcode Global: VHGQS.M9BB

Entry Name: 15 Torriano Cottages

Listing Date: 12 May 2014

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1409904

Location: Camden, London, NW5

County: London

District: Camden

Electoral Ward/Division: Kentish Town

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Camden

Traditional County: Middlesex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London

Church of England Parish: Oseney Crecent St Luke

Church of England Diocese: London

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House, 1965-7, by Philip Pank for himself, his wife and family, extended 1972 by the architect to include a small studio.


House, 1965-6, by Philip Pank for himself, his wife and family; extended in 1972 to include a studio and garage/bedsit.

MATERIALS: external walls are fair-faced Crowborough brick and the timber frame is Jarrah, an Australian hardwood. The roof is asphalt, beneath a turfed and paved roof garden. The studio extension has a slate roof.

PLAN: the single-storey house occupies a confined plot at the west end of a Victorian mews terrace, with access on the south side. The first phase of the house had a C-shaped plan with rooms arranged in a strict grid around a courtyard on the east. Entrance was into the kitchen and dining area on the south side, bedrooms were on the west, and the living room to the north. The extension to the east, with the studio to the north and garage to the south, encloses the courtyard. The roof garden was turfed on the south and paved on the north, with a greenhouse, later made into a bedroom, at the north west, and pergola at the north east. There were shallow ponds on the roof and in the courtyard.

ELEVATIONS: the principal elevation is to the south, and has full-height glazing between the members of the timber frame, consisting of projecting posts and paired beams. There is a solid timber front door, and the bed-sit extension to the right has its own glazed street access. The timber frame extends upwards to form the balustrade to the rooftop garden.

The east elevation (of the 1972 extension) is brick with a dramatically curving parapet. There is a small high-level port-hole window, and a large glazed arch doorway on to the garden with red brick architraves.

The north and west elevations are on the site boundary, and are blank brick walls with no fenestration.

The elevations of the internal courtyard echo the street frontage, with full-height sliding windows to the courtyard, the timber structure extending higher to form a pergola on the north side of the roof garden. The greenhouse/bedroom has a glazed aluminium frame with an inverted pitched roof.

INTERIORS: internally, the timber structure is exposed throughout; external walls are fair-faced brick or full-height glazing, with timber floors and ceilings. Light and space for the living spaces is maximised, with views across the courtyard garden between rooms. The front bedroom and bedsit have full-height windows on to the front garden. The middle two have roof lights, and the rear bedroom has borrowed light from the greenhouse/bedroom above. Wooden fitted units divide the kitchen and dining room areas. There are timber full-height doors, and good-quality original wooden fitted furniture remains throughout. There is an emphasis on flexibility, with sliding partitions and dressing rooms that form corridors when out of use. The living room has an open fire with free-standing conical copper hood. A timber staircase leads up to the greenhouse/bedroom above. The studio has high ceilings, with the monopitch roof expressed internally. It is very light, with a large arched window overlooking the garden and a partially glazed roof, in addition to courtyard windows.


Philip Pank (1933-91) was an artist and architect noted for his private houses. Pank studied at the Architectural Association and was a contemporary of Ahrends, Burton and Koralek and Edward Cullinan. 15 Torriano Cottages is his most renowned and influential work, which he designed for himself and his wife and four children in 1965. He was constrained by the small plot and planning restrictions, which forced ingenuity in the use of space and light. For a time Pank also ran his practice from the house, until forced to relocate to larger premises. He extended the house to include a painting studio and garage in 1972 when an adjacent plot became available, and had plans to extend again to build a swimming pool.

Reasons for Listing

No. 15 Torriano Cottages, 1965-67, a private house by Philip Pank for himself, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Architectural interest: it is an unpretentious and ingeniously planned private house which responds sensitively to its limited site, ensuring privacy and maximising natural light;
* Plan: Pank planned the house around a strict grid system and designed flexible, interrelated spaces which could respond to the evolving needs of the family, and which provided a range of garden spaces despite the small site;
* Materials: the use of the tropical hardwood jarrah for it strength in spanning large distances and to support the roof garden;
* Interior fittings: built-in furniture and fittings were part of Pank’s original design; joinery is of excellent quality and survives unaltered;
* Intactness: the house has undergone minimal alteration and remains as the architect intended;
* Historic interest: Pank holds a significant position in the canon of post-war domestic architects; this house, designed for himself, is the most influential of his works, and the form reflects the lifestyle of his family.

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