Location: Surrey, UK
Project Year: 2013
Cost: £500k - £2mRIBA Regional Awards 2014 - Winner
The Sunday Times British Homes Awards 2014 - Winner
Blue Ribbon Awards 2014 - Self Build Home of the Year
We were approached by enlightened clients looking to unlock the potential of a backland site set in the rear half of an existing suburban garden in Surrey. Their brief was to create a contemporary five-bedroom house for 3 generations of family.
The design uses the irregular shape of the existing garden to tuck the proposed house into an unassuming triangular pocket to the side of the garden that maintains long views from the main house. The proposed house is orientated to minimise overlooking to/from an apartment development to the East and maximises afternoon and evening sun by being orientated West.
Our client’s ambition to have a relaxed, informal series of living spaces work well with the asymmetric volumes created. The strong physical connection to the garden aims to extend the calm modernism of the internal spaces out to the garden backdrop.
The asymmetric form also integrates a private south/west facing first floor balcony to the Main Bedroom and a large cantilevered section to create a covered external space to the entrance door. Recesses in the Eastern Elevation facing the adjoining housing estate allow openings within the façade that avoid overlooking, shaped and orientated towards mature oak trees oblique to the site. Natural light is then brought into the heart of the house though a number of triangular roof-lights over the main staircase and main bedroom dressing area.
The house is provided with level access from the street and conforms to Lifetime Home criteria. To allow future flexibility, the internal arrangement allows for the Ground Floor Snug space to be converted to a bedroom if required with the adjoining wc and shower providing accessible washing facilities.
The building fabric is formed from a bespoke steel frame design and highly insulated timber frame infill. An integrated Heat Recovery Ventilation System ensures the demand for internal space heating is kept to a minimum. Solar water panels fixed to the main roof provide most of the hot water demand and a fully integrated rainwater harvester buried in the garden contributes to cold water supply.
The palette of external materials of vertical batten Western Red Cedar and dark grey smooth render subtly blends the house into its surrounding environment. Internally the use of a dark American Walnut, polished concrete, complimented by an off-white wall finish and deep slate grey finish to bathroom areas gives the project a warm material richness. The glazing system is split between efficient casement units with bespoke larger units, including a Ground Floor triple sliding unit that slides into the external wall to create a completely clear 6.5metre open from the living space to the garden.
©Andy Matthews©Andy Matthews ©Andy Matthews ©Andy Matthews ©Andy Matthews