The Praedium

Spencer Back with Angus Meek Architects

Project
Information

Location: Bristol

Client: Crosby Homes

Status: Completed 2005

Designed for housing developer Crosby Homes, The Praedium includes 17 townhouses and 95 apartments arranged around common landscaped spaces and existing mature trees. The contemporary scheme occupies a brownfield site bordering two Conservation Areas. The townhouses, arranged in two terraces are of prefabricated timber frame construction. The apartments, clustered around 5 services cores are constructed within an in-situ, flat slab concrete frame and sit above a car park partially excavated beneath. While a Director at Angus Meek Architects, Spencer was responsible for the concept and planning design, tender and construction information provided through to completion.

'Highly Commended' at the National Home Builders Design Awards 2006.
Shortlisted for the RIBA Town & Country Design Awards 2007.

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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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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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Sydney Buildings

Modern extension of a listed house

Project
Information

Location: Sydney Buildings, Bath

Client: Private

Status: Completed

Key Materials: Bath Stone, Patinated Zinc

Sydney Buildings is a desirable street on the southern slopes of central Bath. Our client purchased a run-down listed property previously used as student accommodation with the aspiration to return it back into a family home. After careful analysis of the historic value of various aspects of the building fabric, we prepared a scheme that stripped away the modern layers of inappropriate interventions, repaired original features and sensitively introduced new services to make the house fit for modern life. The highlight is the new contemporary double-height bay window in the basement that opens out into the garden providing views across the Kennet and Avon Canal to the city skyline beyond.

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Greenways

A modern single storey house

Project
Information

Location: Combe Down, Bath

Client: Private

Status: Completed 2018

Key Materials: Split face linear concrete blocks, green roof, charred timber, cedar wood shading.

Greenways is a new single storey house, sited in the large rear garden of an early C20th house in Combe Down, Bath. The four bedroom family house is organised in two wings. These are arranged to create a semi enclosed courtyard to the front of the house and south facing garden to the rear.

Entering the house, one first arrives at spaces associated with the life of the family, living, cooking and dining. These open directly onto the rear garden, clearly visible through a full height glazed wall of sliding doors. The more private bedroom wing is accessed from the centre of the house, via a top lit corridor. Bedroom windows face south into the garden. These are protected from excessive solar gain by a pergola running the length of the house. The house features a ‘green’ flat roof as though lifted from the original lawn. Split face masonry walls echo the mining activities which previously took place below the site.

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Crowe Lane

An innovative house framed of CNC machined timber

Project
Information

Location: Bath

Client: Private

Status: Planning permission obtained

Key Materials: Laminated veneer lumber, Reciprocal timber frame, Green roof.

The existing bungalow is a very quirky “wriggly tin” building, almost a shack, built around two stone chimneys. The site is also very unusual, being landlocked between neighbours’ gardens with the only access possible via a 1.2m wide footpath. But the site benefits from an open rural outlook with long views down the valley. So the design proposal was driven by the constraints of site and has evolved as a partially prefabricated plywood structure supported on a few masonry elements. It is conceived as a freeform structure providing the shelter required for living in the garden. The architecture is very “un – housy”. All of the components can be carried by hand onto the site and erected by hand. Excavation and material moving is kept to a minimum. The design process involved the extensive use of parametric modelling, with the main structural components then being cut using digital fabrication methods. The result is an undulating roof of plywood cassettes floating like a tree canopy over a series of freeform living spaces, and also includes an upper level and rooftop deck like a treehouse in the garden.

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Biddestone

A modern home in a converted school

Project
Information

Location: Chippenham

Client: Private

Status: Completed 2018

Key Materials: Pre-patinated zinc, Bath stone ashlar

The Victorian village school in the middle of this very sensitive conservation area was converted to residential use and extended in 2000, but the works left a confused and unsatisfactory layout with a dark interior. The challenge was to redesign the house to improve the quality of the internal spaces and make more of the opportunities which the site offered. The large original school room was isolated from the garden and the rest of the house, and this room was also rather too big for a comfortable domestic space. The key was to move the staircase into the old school hall to reduce its overall size and to improve the circulation generally.. The design of the new elements is clear and legible, making extensive use of a pre patinated zinc cladding, and a very large dormer roof on the South facing side to both improve headroom and to bring more light into the building.

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Park Cottage

A contemporary new house using traditional materials

Project
Information

Location: Wiltshire

Client: Private

Status: Under construction

Key Materials: Cotswold stone tiles, Oak, Zinc, Ashlar, Rubble stone, Timber Zollinger Roof

This new family home is a replacement dwelling in the Greenbelt, replacing an unremarkable series of existing buildings which occupied a prominent corner in the village Conservation area. The challenge was to design a building which responds positively to the village context, respecting the defining characteristics of the village, whilst at the same time creating an uncompromised contemporary piece of architecture, responding positively to its physical and its social context. The proposal retains one small fragment of the existing buildings which was originally a public “Reading Room” built in 1885 “for the use of men and boys of the village”. The design responds to the public realm with a series of steep (50deg) pitched gables with stone copings – familiar forms and materials, but with non-traditional detailing around openings. On the other side it responds to the private gardens with a much more open and transparent façade, connecting the living spaces to the garden and open countryside beyond. The dominant material is the Cotswold stone roof which unifies the whole composition, the glass and metal panels of the private side provide a counterpoint, which emerge subtly in the detailing around the openings, and in the staircase “turret” which provides a lookout from the private interior to the public realm. The house design has comfortably exceeded the requirements of Code for Sustainable Homes (Level 4), primarily through the use of simple passive energy design principles, but will go further still by the use of various active energy technologies.

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Project Information.

This new family home is a replacement dwelling in the Greenbelt, replacing an unremarkable series of existing buildings which occupied a prominent corner in the village Conservation area. The challenge was to design a building which responds positively to the village context, respecting the defining characteristics of the village, whilst at the same time creating an uncompromised contemporary piece of architecture, responding positively to its physical and its social context. The proposal retains one small fragment of the existing buildings which was originally a public “Reading Room” built in 1885 “for the use of men and boys of the village”. The design responds to the public realm with a series of steep (50deg) pitched gables with stone copings – familiar forms and materials, but with non-traditional detailing around openings. On the other side it responds to the private gardens with a much more open and transparent façade, connecting the living spaces to the garden and open countryside beyond. The dominant material is the Cotswold stone roof which unifies the whole composition, the glass and metal panels of the private side provide a counterpoint, which emerge subtly in the detailing around the openings, and in the staircase “turret” which provides a lookout from the private interior to the public realm. The house design has comfortably exceeded the requirements of Code for Sustainable Homes (Level 4), primarily through the use of simple passive energy design principles, but will go further still by the use of various active energy technologies.