Armshold Farm, Kingston – private residence



Location Armshold Farm, Kingston Main
Ley Construction
Size Single dwelling (circa 9000 sq. ft.) Client Private Year 2019-2022

Project Description

This site is situated within the South Cambridgeshire countryside and is currently occupied by a nondescript C19 farmhouse and a collection of dilapidated outbuildings and sheds. The proposal is to redevelop the site for a single new dwelling. The proposed house comprises of two main elements - the house and the ancillary wing. The main house is a simple two storey building with a pitched roof and linear proportions running north to south. This is intended to read as a minimal elemental form, not unlike barns and other agricultural typologies situated in the landscape and is not meant to replicate a barn in terms of detailed design. The building has feature chimney stacks attached to each gable (a detail of the existing farmhouse) which are intended to lend a sense of domesticity. Large openings and balconies are cut into the external envelope as dictated by the internal layout. The roof has a traditional pitch of some 45 degrees and would be covered in a clay tile/brick, a material which is continued down to first floor level to visually combine the roof and upper storey with no obvious eaves. Linear brickwork would be used on the lower storey and chimney stacks. The proposed palette of materials is deliberately selective in order to introduce some subtle variation in elements and also maintain a coherent whole. These materials would have a ‘weathered’ appearance in order to help integrate the proposal into the landscape. Internally, the main house comprises of open plan dining/kitchen and living accommodation on the ground floor, with bedroom accommodation above. The ancillary portion of the house is designed to be subsidiary to the main house in terms of scale, and comprises of a single storey structure configured in a courtyard arrangement to the east of the main house. This range contains the garages, gym, home office and indoor swimming pool. On the eastern side, this element will appear to be partly buried in the side of the hill as the ground level rises. This part of the building would be constructed in the same materials as the main house, with the flat roof areas established as ‘green roofs’ planted in meadow grass. The courtyard creates an intimate sheltered outside private amenity space for the occupants that is hidden from the open countryside. This will allow the proposal to sit in the open countryside without being compromised by any associated ‘domestic clutter’. The courtyard also reflects the historic C19 farmyard layout at Armshold Farm as shown on old Ordnance Survey maps. Therefore, the overall form and layout of the proposal are considered to be of a traditional nature, while the fenestration takes on a more contemporary look in order to maximize natural light. It is considered that the proposal reflects the traditional vernacular forms found in this rural context whilst also providing a building of this age. Our clients were keen to commission a high quality modern building and for this to be given a good standard of detail. The overall footprint of the proposal is 40% less than that of the existing buildings and the overall volume is only slightly larger. We consider that the design and associated landscaping will offer a significant enhancement to the existing landscape character.