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Designscape Architects

Designscape Architects

Bath, UK

Designscape Architects - The Fosse

Designscape Architects

A dilapidated Victorian property brought back to life and extended in a sensitive, creative and contemporary manner to suit the demands of a C21st family.

The Fosse by Designscape Architects

The Fosse by Designscape Architects 




The Fosse by Designscape Architects

The Fosse by Designscape Architects 

The Fosse by Designscape Architects

The Fosse by Designscape Architects 

The Fosse by Designscape Architects

The Fosse by Designscape Architects 



This Victorian villa has been brought back from a dilapidated state and reinvented to create modern family accommodation. The main body of the House has been sensitively refurbished and the numerous extensions to the north have been either demolished or altered to rationalise the plan and create a new principal entrance. The key feature is the double-height entrance hall that looks over a newly excavated courtyard which provides a spacious approach as well as vehicular parking. The space is lined with a continuous rubble bath stone wall that penetrates through a glass screen to form an internal first floor gallery linking inside with outside.

Occupying an enviable south facing location this dilapidated villa had been haphazardly extended to the north and west and had lain empty for several years. The clients' desire was to sensitively restore the core Victorian portion of the property to its former glory and rationalise the mishmash of peripheral outbuildings and lean-to structures through a combination of demolition, alteration and new construction to create a long-term home for their young family.

The key concept was to excavate the rear north-facing garden and move the entrance to this side of the house. This would create a front courtyard to receive vehicles and visitors whilst allowing the elegant south façade and garden to become a private sanctuary for the family. The removal of the top garden would also afford the opportunity to introduce daylight into the north of the property and provide level access from the highway, both of which it lacked previously. The architectural response was to line the new external space with a continuous rubble bath stone wall that wrapped around the courtyard and continued into the house to form a first floor gallery within a newly constructed entrance hall, literally bringing the outside inside.

The double-height volume of this space performs three key roles; to provide a link between the original house, the retained side extension to the west and the new roof terrace created over the existing garage; to allow natural light to penetrate deep into the centre of the plan, expelling the previous dark corridors; and to mark the new entrance in a modern and distinguished manner and signify the rejuvenation of the house.

The rubble stone from the demolished structures was utilised in the new and modified extensions to maintain continuity with the original villa, whilst timber sash windows were reused in new openings in the historic fabric. The new rear extension is clad with slow grown Western Red Cedar boards that are also used on the new garage door and the retained outhouses containing the plant room. Where elements of the existing house have been renewed, and in the construction of the new extensions, the opportunity has been taken to improve the thermal performance in excess of the current requirements of the Building Regulations.

Unusually for a building of this age and significance, The Fosse was not listed and planning consent was not required for the works to the house as all previous additions were pre-1948 meaning that the alterations could be carried out under Permitted Development. However, a planning application was made for the dig of the new courtyard, owing to the engineered nature of the necessary contiguous piling and retaining wall structures.

The finished building is now fit for purpose and can be enjoyed by the family in the years to come.