London, UK. 2019-21

House of the Lost Forest


House of the Lost Forest is part of a rewilded railway, London’s longest nature reserve. The building integrates with an urban woodland and more-than-human realm.

The house overlooks a rewilded railway, London’s longest nature reserve ..  home to mythical sprites, mysterious spook trains and fabled deer

House of the Lost Forest is located within the Forest of Middlesex, historically lost under north London. Pockets of ancient woodland survive in the surrounding park network and an underlying presence of forest persists … you sense the soil beneath the pavement … the pulse of mycorrhiza … the scent of old growth.

The building is sited on a wooded embankment overlooking an abandoned railway cutting. The railway was rewilded in the 1980s and now forms an urban woodland and wildlife refuge. Cohabiting with bats and owls, oak and ash trees, the building is immersed in nature, yet surrounded by city.

The house sequentially opens up towards the rewilded railway. Lateral openings frame woodland views from deep inside the house, expanding perspectives and layering interior spaces. Slender openings frame the connections between treetops, canopy and understorey – uniting tree, earth and sky.

The internal layout combines the social qualities of open plan with the privacy of enclosed layouts. A staggered floor plan can be partitioned into independent rooms or opened as one continuous space around a south facing atrium.

The building’s distinctive nooks and crannies, peripheral vistas and layered spaces affirm a connection with the more-than-human realm, providing refuge for mythical sprites, fabled deer, mysterious spook trains and the remnants of a lost forest.

Forests are places where our most powerful dreams and deepest fears are realised. House of the Lost Forest connects with a rewilded woodland and more-than-human realm.

The ancient Forest of Middlesex survives as fragments within the surrounding park network


80cm model (Scale 1:20)


1. Abandoned railway tunnels – home to Londons largest bat colony;    2. Statue of a Spriggan – a mythical sprite that inhabits the rewilded railway;    3. Deer foraging on the old embankments;    4. Pulsating mycorrhiza;    5. Forest menhir;    6. ‘Fairy caves’


Project Team

Undercurrent Architects : Didier Ryan, Tao Gatto, Yoko Chang

Planning Consultant : Mike Osman, Michael Copeman

Kronen Transport Consultants

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MODEL (1:20)

Behind the scenes


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