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A large contemporary family house overlooking the RAC Epsom golf course orientated to maximise natural daylighting, and which frames a private sunken courtyard garden. The angular geometry is driven by the site relationship to views and daylight and is continued into the landscape which is also designed by Eldridge London.
Eldridge London were commissioned to design a new family house on a site overlooking the RAC’s Woodcote Park golf course and with views to the Epsom racecourse and Canary Wharf beyond.
The client’s brief included open plan living space and room for a piano at ground floor, bedrooms on the first floor with balconies to benefit from views across the surrounding countryside, indoor swimming pool, gym, home office space and guest room at lower ground floor level. Their interest in contemporary architecture gave them confidence to commission a modern building in the context of this neo-Georgian neighbourhood.
The response from Epsom and Ewell Planners to the contemporary proposal was very favourable, describing the house as 'A potential listed building of the future'.
Unlike the neighbouring houses which are orientated towards the golf course with a front and back, the design for the House in Epsom is set at an angle and with a V-shaped plan formed by the main house and lower wing of the pool pavilion. The orientation is based upon the sun path and longer views to the countryside at high level as well as respecting the existing mature Cedar trees on the site. The space created between the four-storey wing of the main house and the double-height pool room is set one level below ground in order to create a private courtyard protected from the golf course. Eldridge London’s landscape design for this area includes 120 triangular planters which are stacked in tiers creating terracing up to the main garden level and a green outlook from the pool.
The geometry of the reinforced concrete structure follows the angled plan form with double height triangular columns within the main living space which reduce the visual interruption of the shear glass façade onto the courtyard. Much of the concrete remains fair-faced providing a clearly legible structure and contrasts with the finely engineered timber elements of the main staircase and cloakroom module in the entrance hall which itself repeats the plan form of the house at a smaller scale.
The project is an exemplar of ecological design incorporating seven 80 metre deep boreholes for ground source heating, solar thermal water heating panels on the main roof, pool heat sump and heat pumps. The mass concrete structure itself acts as a thermal heat store and maintains constant temperatures at all times of the year. All spaces can be naturally ventilated and the entire south façade can be opened up at ground floor level. The north façade of the building is solid and heavily insulated apart from glass doors from the kitchen space and three slot windows at the upper level. This wall also provides accessible, vertical services distribution from the lower ground floor plant room to all levels of the building.
Although the House in Epsom utilises the latest in building technology, the contemporary design is balanced by its clear relationship to its site and landscape and incorporates elements such as the staircase and fair-faced concrete work which have a hand-crafted and tactile quality important when considering the nature of the family home.
The house won an RIBA award and was shortlisted for the Manser Medal.