Trumans Road Houses


Self-build town houses in Dalston, London with Ivan Harbour

“The Hackney Society wants to list the houses as one of its significant buildings of the twentieth century – perhaps the first time an unfinished building has been deemed worthy of such reverence. An inspiration to any would-be self-builder.”

Samantha Hardingham, London: A guide to recent architecture, 1999

These two new houses and garden studio were designed and built from scratch on a narrow brownfield site in Dalston, London by friends and the families who live there.

The four-storey homes spring from a shared in-situ concrete stairwell containing independent helical private stairs wound around one another.

Steel and concrete frames structure the east and west house wings which are clad in cement panel rain screens to the boundary walls and glass curtain walling to the street and garden. Flat south roof terraces give views to the City.

Arranging everyday materials and industrial components within a tight budget, some leftovers from significant public buildings around Europe, the development challenged commonly held perceptions of ownership to create affordable family housing in a once deprived part of London.

As the houses took shape, initial bemusement from the local authority and the immediate community turned to support for their regenerative effect and the particular quality of their design. In 2012 these houses were Locally Listed in the London Borough of Hackney as having special architectural interest.

Service: Self-built with Henrietta Cullinan, Ivan and  Roxanne Harbour, friends and family

Location: Dalston, London

Client: Cullinan and Harbour families

Cost: Unknown

Areas: GIFA 150m2

Dates: 1990 – 1996

Photograph by Katsu Kida


Hackney – Modern, Restored, Forgotten, Ignored: 40 Buildings to mark 40 Years of the Hackney Society, Lisa Rigg, The Hackney Society, 2009

Confort Magazine, no 47, 2001.4

London: A Guide to recent Architecture, Samantha Hardingham, Ellipsis London Limited, 1999

Architecture + Detail, No 9, 1997

To Live In   To Learn In   To Work In   To Play In