Hansler Road: marbles laid bare in all of their natural beauty

Designer AOArchitecture
Project Hansler Road
Year 2020
Location London, UK
Typology Housing
Materials Marble
Photo Hufton+Crow

The London based studio AOArchitecture/Alexander Owen Architecture has recently completed the development of Hansler Road in East Dulwich, a residential area of South East London.

Stone as the primary cladding material for Hansler Road was driven by a number of key factors narratively speaking: development of the property as a ‘forever home’ which required the construction materials to be robust and easy to maintain in the long term. Heirlooms such as a marble coffee table and marble sculpture became central to the notion of building personal connections and memories into the fabric of the building.

The selection of the specific marble types ("arabescato" and "bardiglio") was driven by the veining, colouration and movement inherent to each type and how they would sit against each other, the other materials as well as the context of the site. There is an abundance of trees and greenery around the site, which casts an every changing array of shadows and so we were keen to connect the architecture with this play of light and for the marble to blend with the ever changing and organic nature of the context. The forms and joints that AOArchitecture have created between the two marble types have been designed to make the building look monolithic and heavy whilst drawing the eye across and around the building from inside to out. The marble colouring has also been mirrored between the extension and garden room.

Stone is a natural product, does not require other materials or resources to create it and contains no harmful chemicals or toxins. Stone is very durable and if maintained properly, will last for a very long time. Stone is completely recyclable and has the potential to serve many different uses and purposes over its lifetime.

According to the Stone Federation the processing of stone is not very energy intensive compared with the production processes of other materials, such as brick or concrete. Bath University’s ICE calculates Marble at 112kgCO2/tonne, whilst timber is 450kgCO2/tonne and facing brick is 520kgCO2/tonne. We chose to work with Diespeker the specialist supplier because they were local to site which was great in terms of transport distances but also allowed us to support a local business; they had invested in a water recycling plant to recycle water used in the factory process; and in cutting machinery using water jets, to reduce the amount of dust created within the factory, which is much better both for their workforce and the environment. Diespeker also invested in a crushing machine to enable them to make better use of off-cuts, vastly reducing waste, meaning any off cuts and waste could be used to produce furniture, counter tops and/or floor tiling.

Hansler Road has been chosen as a 2021 Surface Design Awards finalist in the "housing exterior" category. The Surface Design Awards (https://www.surfacedesignshow.com/surface-design-awards) recognise and celebrate the best use of innovative surface materials in architecture and design from across the globe. Launched 8 years ago, these prestigious Awards keep growing year-on-year and are often seen as a reference for the architecture and design industry. Judged by some of the leading designers in the industry, the 2020 edition had an impressive 107 entries spanning 13 different countries including India, Australia, China and the USA.


  • No surface from the same designer.
  • No surface from the same company.