Sun House

An experimental rural home

Project
Information

Location: Claverton Valley, Bath

Client: Private

Status: Completed

Key Materials: Oak cladding, Clay pantiles, COR-TEN steel, Insulated concrete formwork, Rainwater harvesting, Passive solar heating, PV solar panels, Polished concrete flooring, Bat cave

The house sits at the top of the Claverton Valley on the outskirts of Bath, and replaces a low-grade mobile home. The design is a response to the woodland setting and arranges accommodation into two distinct elements. The main volume is clad with rough-cut oak boarding and contains the entrance and kitchen on the ground floor and living room above. A second, single storey wing is faced with oxidised steel panels and contains sleeping areas that open directly into the garden. The grass roof of the bedroom wing provides a terrace to the adjacent first floor space. The house employs experimental construction and technology, incorporating rainwater harvesting, passive and active solar energy, and is virtually free from pvc materials.

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Mount Pleasant

A steel framed garden room extension

Project
Information

Location: Bradford-on-Avon

Client: Private

Status: Completed 2016

Key Materials: Painted steel frame, Cedar cladding, Ashlar walling, Aluminium framed glass sliding doors

Occupying a hillside site with good views south over Bradford on Avon, this intricate project proved challenging due to the extent of structural works required to support the existing house above. Fortunate timing meant that our client was able to make use of the contractor who had recently completed a similarly challenging project at Cornbury Mill as well as sharing his desire to achieve high standards of finish.

The uncompromising design removes a lower section of bay window and replaces it with a larger, heavily glazed extension and wrap around slot window which allows natural light to penetrate deep into the house. Internal reorganisation provides much improved open plan living, dining and kitchen areas, facilitated by the installation of a fire resistant glazed screen and new timber staircase to the upper levels. The result is a light and bright multi-purpose room where the family spend much of their time together, providing a new direct and open relationship between house and garden.

We would firstly to say thank you very much to everyone involved at Designscape for making the project such a success; we really do now have an amazing house!

We initially met with Spencer and felt very confident that he understood what we wanted to create for our family home. The design process was detailed and communication was strong throughout. Our ideas were kept central to the process, and any issues were addressed and resolved considerately and creatively. When Spencer passed the project on to his colleague Alex, the change was seamless and the thoughtful professionalism continued.

It’s fair to say that working with Designscape was a pleasure, from start to finish.

The Client

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The Beacon

A contemporary House in the World Heritage City

Project
Information

Location: Bath

Client: Private

Status: Awaiting Planning Permission

Key Materials: Fibre cement and cedar cladding, Cotswold stone rubble walling, Triple glazed window system, Cantilever structure

This scheme replaces an unremarkable 1930s house on an exceptional site, at the top of a steep south facing, wooded site overlooking the City of Bath. The site is in a special and spectacular location and demands a bold and high-quality scheme to take advantage of the opportunities that it offers.

The proposed new house sits almost exactly on the footprint of the existing house so that the wooded site can be maintained with minimal impact. In the summer the living rooms and the extensive balcony cantilever out into the tree canopies. In the winter the trees still screen the views from the city below towards this sensitive site, but the trees become a veil through which the city lights below can be glimpsed.

A drystone wall plinth forms the base of the building, with lightweight framed elements cantilevering off this base and reaching out into the tree canopies, and towards the sun and the views. The context of the site is more wooded hillside than any nearby buildings, so the base of the building references the predominant local building material, translating it from the urban ashlar walling of the nearby terraces, into the more naturalistic rubble walling, and the dark grey fibre cement cladding, partly overclad with cedar battens to reference the woods – predominantly dark and shady, with vertical timber elements.

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Court Farm Barn

A Listed Barn Conversion

Project
Information

Location: Langridge, Bath

Client: Private

Status: Completed

Key Materials: Steel support structure, Oak shutters and doors, Biomass heating system

Situated adjacent to the Farm House, the Grade II* listed former threshing barn had fallen into a state of disrepair and the proposal was developed to repair and convert the structure to provide ancillary accommodation to the main house, to include a home-work space, kitchen, bathroom and guest bedrooms. The new functions are contained within a series of free standing white timber boxes to the west end, leaving two- thirds of the original double-height volume intact. The existing modern steel frame is utilized to support the new roof structure without distributing the extra load onto the historic walls. As part of the first phase of works, a new wood-burning boiler in an adjacent outbuilding provides heating and hot water to both the farm house and converted barn.

We are very pleased with the finished results. The Farm and the Barn presented a number of challenges due to the building’s listed status and subsequent protracted negotiations with the local planning authority. Listed status restricted our options for conversion, but Designscape’s strategic approach was invaluable in clarifying our options. This included prioritising a green heating system which now serves not only the barn but also the rest of the farm. When the listed building officer brokered advice that the Barn could potentially fall into disrepair and become the responsibility of the local authority, this led to a practical agreement about a sympathetic design and flexible arrangement to proceed with planning.

The capacity of the architect, engineers and the builder to solve unexpected problems throughout the build process was also an important factor in the success of this project. This included the various challenges of stabilising the walls, the construction of the roof, the provision of new steel and the method of construction using internal scaffolding, and also the procurement and fitting of the entrance glazing to achieve very neat fixings etc.

The building has been brought back into use again and now also fulfils a role in the local community. The renovation has been very well received by neighbours including the church congregation who gather annually in it for Harvest Festival auction, Christmas and other events throughout the year. Even the construction process pragmatically involved the farming neighbour's labour and machinery to very good effect. The flexible use of the barn also includes family gatherings and an occasional wedding reception.

It is a wonderful space and Designscape have managed not only to provide flexible accommodation within but also to preserve the original character and qualities of a barn

The Client

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Bloomfield Avenue

A modern garden room kitchen extension

Project
Information

Location: Bath

Client: Private

Status: Completed 2013

Key Materials: Insulated render, Aluminium framed triple track sliding door system, frameless glass roof light, patent glazing

Our brief in developing designs for this project was to replace a small galley kitchen, dark breakfast room, tired utility room and underused conservatory. The end result needed to be light and bright, provide a direct and open relationship between the house and garden, with enough space to function as a multi-purpose room where the family would spend much of their time together. Our proposal created a new open plan space which stretched across the back of the house containing kitchen and family room. We moved the family spaces closer to the garden and the light and utility room into the house where natural light was less important. Large areas of glazing bring high levels of natural daylight into the house. A full width sliding door and floor to ceiling window system blurs the boundary between inside and outside, bringing the garden into the house and making the garden more accessible and usable.

We started working with Spencer Back from Designscape in late 2013 on the design of a kitchen and living room extension to our Victorian house in Bath. We had carefully researched and interviewed a number of local architect firms. We chose Designscape for two main reasons: 1. we felt that their work most closely reflected the approach and style of what we wanted our extension to be, and 2. from the first meeting we felt confident that Spencer really understood our requirements and was someone that we were going to get along with. Spencer also found us an excellent builder, and the partnership between Designscape and the builder ensured that the whole process from design through to completion was incredibly smooth and stress-free. The results have been stunning and we could not be more pleased with the new space. It has the ‘wow’ factor in spades and everyone who comes to the house absolutely loves it. The BANES LABC award for ‘Best Domestic Extension’ is the icing on the cake and proof of the success of the whole project.

The Clients

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Cedar House

A remodelled and extended home in a Conservation Area

Project
Information

Location: Westbury Park, Bristol

Client: Private

Status: Completed 2010

Key Materials: Cedar shingles, Composite timber, Aluminium window system

The client had purchased a dilapidated 1950s house in a residential street in Bristol, and wanted to transform it into a modern, bright and low energy family home. After discussions about the merits of retaining all, part or none of the existing accommodation, it was decided to leave the front part of the house in tact with a new extension to the rear. The retained section was renovated and included a new slate roof, metal windows and was overclad with insulating render to improve the thermal performance. The rear of the house took on a softer character using western red cedar cladding and contained the new heart of the house; a double height dining space with direct access into the kitchen and a new staircase leading to a first floor gallery.

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Middle Stoke

A reflective cantilevered house

Project
Information

Location: Middle Stoke, Bath

Client: Private

Status: Under construction

Key Materials: Steel frame, Aluminium composite cladding, Cotswold stone, MVHR system, Green roof

This scheme proposes the replacement of a 1960s house overlooking the Avon Valley at Limpley Stoke. The site presents a number of challenges – the views out of the site are almost due North, making it quite difficult to get sunlight to penetrate the plan, and the Southern edge of the site – on which the existing house is sited – is an unstable slope.

The new house has to sit closer to the Northern boundary of the site, but views out over and down the Avon Valley are made possible by cantilevering the upper storey off a rubble stone base. The upper storey culminates in the master bedroom and bathroom which will have unparalleled views out over the landscape. The garden has been designed to slip over and under the house, with green roofs and covered terraces, embedding the building into the landscape.

The simple rectangular volume of the upper storey is clad in an aluminium cladding, which offers a slightly blurred refection of the surroundings, losing the edges and de-materialising the form of the upper storey.

Landscape design: B:D Landscape

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Hardy House

A home for an artist

Project
Information

Location: Box, Wiltshire

Client: Hardy House Gallery

Status: Phase 1 Complete

Key Materials: Bath Stone, Galvanised Steel, Patent glazing, Resin Concrete flooring, Ash timber flooring.

Hardy House is a former club building in the heart of a Wiltshire village. Converted in the 1980’s the building needed updating and alteration to meet the client’s needs whose brief called for the refurbishment of the existing house with the provision of new home working facilities for their artistic activities. Comprehensive refurbishment of the existing house created a clean, modern interior with studio and gallery as well as more conventional spaces and includes improvements to reduce running costs and increase thermal performance. A new glazed canopy to the rear provides a useful veranda space to enjoy views across the garden and a sheltered space to park the car and enter the house. Planning consent was also obtained for an independent studio building in the garden, as yet unbuilt.

Hardy House was short listed for the AJ Retrofit Awards 2014

Designscape Architects' first class design and build management service gave us an outstanding house at affordable cost.

The Clients

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Calderwood

C20th house update, extension and alteration

Project
Information

Location: Bathwick, Bath

Client: Private

Status: Completed 2012

Key Materials: Western Red Cedar, White brick, Blue engineering brick

This detached house was originally constructed in 1965 and is located on a suburban street close to the centre of Bath. The clients bought the property with the desire to upgrade and extend the accommodation to suit their growing family. The new alterations have a minimal impact on the front of the house, instead providing a dramatic transformation of the living spaces at the rear and improving their connection to the garden. This has been achieved by extending outwards and to the side which, with the removal of the existing external and internal walls at ground level, creates a generous open plan living space. An additional bedroom at first floor was also provided and the rest of the house was refurbished to a provide a thoroughly modern and more energy efficient living environment.

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Kelston Road

A contemporary and innovative home

Project
Information

Location: Bath

Client: Private

Status: Completed 2015

Key Materials: Douglas fir, Western red cedar

This project is a single storey annexe on the Kelston Road, designed as a home for our client’s elderly parents, within the curtilage of their existing home.

The site is located on the outskirts of Bath within the Greenbelt, we created a design which both preserves and enhances the surrounding environment, converting and extending a former garage. The use of a green roof and materials sympathetic to the original dwelling allowed the annexe to become a complementary addition to the site.

Thank you so much for all you have done in the last two years helping us to achieve a beautiful living space for Mum and Dad.

We can hardly believe that the process is almost complete and how our lives have already fallen into a very comfortable combination of independence and mutual support. As we have said to you all, we really couldn’t be happier with the house. It is a true reflection of your talent that we have such a spacious, light and interesting house on such a modest footprint and with all the planning constraints. It really does have the wow factor! You have all been so professional and supportive throughout and we have felt very safe in your hands.

The Clients

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Project Information.

This project is a single storey annexe on the Kelston Road, designed as a home for our client’s elderly parents, within the curtilage of their existing home.

The site is located on the outskirts of Bath within the Greenbelt, we created a design which both preserves and enhances the surrounding environment, converting and extending a former garage. The use of a green roof and materials sympathetic to the original dwelling allowed the annexe to become a complementary addition to the site.