Our brief was to design a sustainable contemporary family dwelling for a private client which would replace a dilapidated 1950’s house occupying an attractive site on the village edge. A symmetrical plan was developed with a central staircase set within a double height hall. The strong symmetry adopted for the internal layout is intended to lend the house an association with the English country house tradition, particularly Palladian inspired villas of the eighteenth-century. On the ground floor, open-plan spaces are separated by changes in level and structural elements such as columns to provide a sequence of autonomous yet interconnected spaces. The external envelope is defined as three simple interlocking gable forms which echo vernacular buildings found within the Cambridgeshire landscape. Attached to the main house is a pool block and associated garage with a home office set in a courtyard arrangement to one side.
A limited palette of monochromatic materials was selected to provide a deliberately understated exterior with a sense of materiality considered appropriate to this semi-rural location. Narrow module grey weathered brickwork was used for the external walls, dark grey powder coated composite windows set within recessed openings and pre-patinated black zinc cladding for the roof. Existing trees and hedgerows were retained to help assimilate the building within its landscape setting.
Despite its generous floor area, the house only contains four bedrooms, all of equal size, prioritising the quality of living and circulation spaces rather than the number of rooms.
Sustainable features include air-source heat pumps, PV panels and a green roof (above the swimming pool). Louvered panels for solar shading have yet to be installed on the front elevation.