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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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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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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Innox Lodge

Bringing the garden into an historic home

Project
Information

Location: Somerset

Client: Private

Status: Completed 2012

Key Materials: Lead cladding, Bath stone, Ashlar, Brick, Steel

Located on the edge of the village with wide views across the rural landscape, this unlisted Victorian house was recently renovated by its owners. They wished to add a new garden room that would link the kitchen with the surrounding landscape and provide a place where the family can gather informally. The contemporary design of the new addition remains sympathetic to its setting through the use of traditional materials including bath stone ashlar and pre-formed metal sheets that match those of the original house. In advance of the construction of the new space a number of alterations to the house were made including the creation of a large opening through to the kitchen and a new staircase into converted basement rooms below.

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Madam's Paddock

A contemporary house in the Greenbelt

Project
Information

Location: Chew Magna, Bristol

Client: Private

Status: Awaiting Planning Permission

Key Materials: Pennant stone walls, patinated zinc cladding.

This project replaces an existing 1960s house. It is close to the centre of the village, yet is on an Island, surrounded by the River Chew and located within the Greenbelt. The proposed house is placed so that the garden is maximised, with the house placed to form an arrival space, separated from the garden. The radial layout, with its centre point defined by a large oak tree on the site boundary allows different parts of the house to relate specifically to various character areas of the garden: The house is lifted out of the ground on the masonry radial walls, allowing floodwater to flow beneath the house and keeping the ground floor clear of the predicted flood levels. The majority of the accommodation is on the ground floor, with just the master bedroom and the guest bedroom elevated above the stone plinth as two separate first floor volumes, clad in a dark coloured zinc cladding in order to break down the mass of the house. The landscape has been designed to improve the flood resilience of the site and at the same time to allow better access from the garden to the water’s edge, and also to provide wildlife / ecological enhancements. Landscape design: B:D Landscape

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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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Twinneys

A new sustainable home in the Greenbelt

Project
Information

Location: Charlcombe, Bath

Client: Private

Status: Completed 2009

Key Materials:

Douglas Fir, Fair Faced Concrete, Cotswold Stone, Green Roof, Zinc Roof

This award winning new house is built on the site of a former piggery and lies within the Bath & Bristol Green Belt in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The design is conceived as a low-lying timber and glass structure supported on a terraced landscape, to blur the boundary between building and terrain. Sleeping accommodation is situated on the lower ground floor of the house with the entrance and open-plan kitchen, dining and lounge spaces above. Three terraces open out from the living areas affording panoramic views across the valley. The thermal mass and high performance of the building envelope is complemented by solar hot water panels to provide a low energy solution. A partially autonomous artist’s studio and gallery is built into the hillside to the rear.

An outstanding piece of architecture has been derived from the combination of a perceptive and pragmatic response to a clients brief on a site heavily constrained by topography, geology and local planning requirements. Apparently seamless, cascading down the hill side taking full advantage of green roof technology, melding into the surrounding topography rather than dominating. Attention to every detail in tandem with the palette of natural materials used have resulted in a modern piece of architecture that is nestled in a very natural terrain.On a site rich in personal memory that remains a significant and unspoiled part of the rural surroundings of the historic city of Bath.

RIBA Town and Country Awards 2011 Jury Report

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Chilliswood

A contemporary and innovative home

Project
Information

Location: Freshford, Bath

Client: Private

Status: Completed 2015

Key Materials:

Fibre cement tiles, Insulated mineral render, Cedar

This new four-bedroom house is located on the footprint of the existing 1980s dwelling it replaces. Located in the Greenbelt and offering panoramic views across the Limpley Stoke valley, the house is designed as two simple interconnecting volumes that make use of the site topography. The split-level accommodation places the open plan living space at its heart with a connection to the garden, and the more private master and guest bedrooms above and children’s rooms at the top. Featuring an internal heat recovery system, it will be constructed using a masonry plinth and heavily insulated timber frame (clad with horizontal and vertical cedar boarding) to achieve an sympathetic, economic and sustainable solution.

We embarked on this project having never undertaken anything as big or risky before. It is not every day that you just knock over a house that you have lived in for the past few years! And although the process was at times scary and daunting, we put our trust in Chris and Lucy who worked tirelessly through the project, accommodating and resolving all the challenges which we gave them. The resulting house is everything that we hoped for and more…..it is a wonderful house to live in, with flexible and practical living spaces – great for family life and entertaining. The design makes superb use of the site and views, and it is filled with daylight. It is always warm (with minimal running costs) and every day we pinch ourselves and remind ourselves how lucky we are. The house has attracted many complimentary comments from visitors and passers-by, and is a testament to the skill and tenacity of the architects, who looked after the project, and us, brilliantly from start to finish.

The Clients

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Project Information.

This new four-bedroom house is located on the footprint of the existing 1980s dwelling it replaces. Located in the Greenbelt and offering panoramic views across the Limpley Stoke valley, the house is designed as two simple interconnecting volumes that make use of the site topography. The split-level accommodation places the open plan living space at its heart with a connection to the garden, and the more private master and guest bedrooms above and children’s rooms at the top. Featuring an internal heat recovery system, it will be constructed using a masonry plinth and heavily insulated timber frame (clad with horizontal and vertical cedar boarding) to achieve an sympathetic, economic and sustainable solution.