Basements (and foundations) are interesting subjects. They are ultimately lost into the ground, but their design (and installation) is critical.
We’re working with a client south of London to provide a replacement house. The site is very restricted with existing houses either side. The design required detailed thought to ensure the houses either side are adequately supported when the basement is excavated. Happily, the new basement is now installed and peace is returned.
Our client owns a large house in the middle of a lovely village, with a considerable area of land. They came to us to build a new house on some of that land, a house more easily adapted and manageable for later in their lives. The village is in central Kent and has a very high proportion of historic and listed buildings, so we knew this would be an interesting challenge.
The concept for the house is a group of pitched roofed buildings. The arrangement of the three blocks takes cues from traditional arrangement of rural and agricultural buildings, with the larger central building and smaller sections as “additions” made to it.
The main block holds the core of the house, with service areas (bathrooms, utility and plant) and the central circulation; this part is the most traditional in external treatment with a tiled roof, horizontal boarding and a brickwork plinth up to sill level. The two smaller blocks are more modern in their treatment, which zinc roof and vertical cladding, to distinguish them from the larger barn. The principal views from the site are to the south and so the large scale, modern proportioned windows are positioned to take advantage of this. A wide section of glazing to the inner corner of the south facing terrace, shaded by the master bedroom balcony above, breaks down the traditional form further.
The project is to be submitted to planning at the end of September.
A significant number of our projects are in sensitive rural areas. It’s wonderful to be working in such beautiful environments (and it makes site visits an absolute joy!) but it can be a challenge to produce modern architecture fitting of that context. Planning departments can be conservative and often a low key, traditional approach can mean a lower risk of planning refusal. The opportunity to work with clients with the desire to build more modern buildings is great, but requires a careful negotiation with what is acceptable to the local authority.
Recently we’ve been exploring this idea of “rural” and “modern” in a number of projects in the office. We’ve been using traditional shapes and natural materials, but looking for a play of volume, window proportions and sharpness in the execution that brings a real contemporary take on the vernacular without jarring against the expectations of local authorities and neighbours. These are a selection of images that we think exemplify the best kind of “rural modern.”
We’re delighted to confirm planning permission has been granted for another of our timber framed eco-houses. The house will replace a bungalow on a site in an Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Wiltshire. The site benefits from amazing views to the front of the house and so the building has been orientated to take full advantage.
The house is planned to be building by Meisterstueck-Haus. Meisterstueck is a 113-year-old family-run company from Hamlin, Germany, who supply bespoke houses in the UK.
If you’d like to find out more contact us for an informal chat.