Fijal House, Ely

Named ‘best contemporary self build’ in The Daily Telegraph Homebuilding & Renovating Awards 2018, Fijal House is a ‘contemporary interpretation’ of local architectural styles ranging from nearby Edwardian housing to Ely cathedral. Large VELFAC windows, doors and patio doors play an important role in the design of Fijal House, enhancing the distinctive façade and delivering light filled interior spaces which create ‘a sense of scale and character unusual in a suburban home’.

Fijal House, a ‘contemporary interpretation’ of local architectural stylesPhoto credit: Matthew Smith 

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‘We specified the VELFAC system because of its minimal frame width and simple design,’ says architect Hugh Craft of Mole Architects: ‘The system also allowed us to combine side hung casement windows to provide uninterrupted views and ventilation, referencing Edwardian timber windows with large openings made up of smaller components.’

Achieving the clean and simple exterior was challenging, adds Hugh, as it demanded uniformity between casement windows, fixed windows and external finishes, ‘but we overcame this by specifying a combination of VELFAC 200 windows, with RIBO aluminium doors ensuring uniformity in the elevation,’ he says.

The composite frame’s inherent design versatility was also an advantage. External aluminium frames, finished in deep blue, enhance a decorative front elevation featuring white bricks set at 90 degree angles, and a concrete entrance recess lined with coloured encaustic tiles.

‘The colour choice for the external frames was significant,’ says Hugh, ‘as we wanted the frames to quietly sit within the precast window surrounds which provide continuity with the historic houses nearby.’ A simple internal design, including dark stone floors and pale ash wall linings, reflects the natural light flooding through the slim VELFAC frames ‘finished in a clear lacquer, which aims to match the exposed timber linings,’ he adds.

Fijal House has attracted significant attention since its completion in 2018, not only winning the Daily Telegraph Homebuilding & Renovating Award, but also reaching the shortlist for a RIBA Regional Award, and for the Sunday Times British Home Awards ‘Small House of the Year’ category.


Sector: New build home

Architect: Mole Architects

Photographer: Matthew Smith

Specified for:

  • Slim frame
  • Contemporary style
  • Design versatility
  • Uniform sightlines
  • Internal timber / external aluminium