This project is on the longlist for the RIBA 2016 House of the Year Award.
Project DescriptionFROM JOHN PARDEY ARCHITECTS:
The house sits between two worlds – a courtyard and a walled garden. The design is based on the desire to enjoy both a south facing aspect, yet also engage with the walled garden to the north. The house therefore becomes part of the rebuilt wall, part of the walled garden. With the overall height strictly controlled by planning restrictions and the site rising by two metres from front to back, the inner courtyard is part-sunk into the ground, increasing the sense of enclosure.
This is a serene and relatively modest house that suits its owner and its site. It is rigorously articulated. The result is a home that unfolds and creates some beautiful reflective spaces with excellent use of light, in particular the first floor corridor space with low-level windows to overcome any overlooking issues.
The landscaping wraps around the house and the retention of the historic wall helps to create a sense of place and orientation. The new flint walls emphasise continuity with the landscape, and cutting into the slope adds to this impression. The old kitchen garden is left to meadow which gives the new and old both space to breathe.
While entirely contemporary, the architects have relished using natural materials that will weather well, so the ground floor walls are faced in flint (pre-cast in blocks) to pay respect to a Grade II-Listed old schoolhouse next door, except where it becomes part of the walled garden where it reverts to brick. Porcelain tiled floors amplify the indoor–outdoor connection. The house runs on a bored ground source heat pump system which, along with MVHR and rooftop PV panels, exports more energy than it consumes. However, a wood-fired stove is provided to give the house a heart, making the house a home.
Within its locality this is an entirely fitting, contextual and elegant response. It is a peaceful house with beautiful use of light and space. This results in a very good building indeed.