This private residence was designed and built to fulfil a number of criteria. First and foremost the family wanted a congenial home but they also wanted us to create something ‘architecturally outstanding that captured the essence of its time’.
It was important to integrate the dwelling visually, functionally and environmentally within this context. The defining character of the local area is rural, mainly woodland with some open fields and heath. The design responds with natural landscaping and gently curved contours, no hard edges.
Walls, doors and windows are enveloped in the form of the building, kept private for the occupants and hidden from outside view, leaving only a small mound in the landform which is barely as high as the hedgerows.
Sitting the dwelling at the mid-point of the sloping site allows for water capture from precipitation and uphill run-off, waste water treatment downhill of the dwelling and the retention of existing trees, keeping impact on the landscape to a minimum.
A concave form orientated uphill towards the south allows for maximum protection from wind combined with the largest wall surface shielded by earth bunding. Solar gain is exploited throughout the day meaning minimal heat loss from glazed areas during cold, dull days.
The private garden space uphill to the south of the dwelling, accessed via a bridge from the main house, is clearly differentiated from the ecologically driven characteristics of the surrounding landscape.