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The site is located directly fronting an area of open fields that form part of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding National Beauty.
The elevated primary volume contains an open plan living space with lounge, dining room, kitchen, covered outdoor room and master bedroom suite. This elongated volume is aligned north-south, parallel to the road and maximising views of the AONB to the east. The lightweight timber-clad living volume rests on and spans between two massive masonry-clad elements set at 90 degrees to the volume above. A freestanding masonry wall extending towards the road supports the north end while a grass roofed volume housing guest suite and bedrooms supports the north end. This element is set partially into the ground so that the house offers a low profile when viewed from the AONB and projects westwards with large recessed glazing looking south onto the garden.
The upper floor is seen as a lightweight, linear timber element that appears as a wrapping timber sleeve. Within this form, a master bedroom suite sits to one side of the staircase while to the other, a long open plan kitchen-dining-living space opens into a fully covered outdoor room with wood burning stove shared between indoor and outdoor spaces.
To deal with the somewhat conflicting desires of enjoying the great views
from the house, yet the need for a low impact when seen from the AONB, the large areas of glazing to the upper level to enjoy the views are recessed by 1.5 metres to avoid the possibility of glare and this is further mitigated by large, full height, sliding, timber louvred screens set to the front of the resultant balcony.
The design employs high quality natural materials that enhance and harmonise with the site – coursed stone to ground floor walls, enhanced by modular panels of green, living walls. The upper floor element is clad in sweet chestnut, a highly durable low maintenance material that weathers to a natural silver colour and will last for many centuries without further maintenance. To the garden side, panels of pre-weathered zinc, set within the timber sleeve are employed. These materials will be allowed to weather naturally and blend harmoniously with the site and surroundings.
The house will have very high thermal insulation values and employ low energy heating and power strategies that target a Code for Sustainable Homes Level 5, offering a 100% reduction in emission rate over the target emission rate for the dwelling. Concealed roof-mounted photovoltaic panels will generate power that will offset immersion demands. The building fabric will be highly insulated to achieve very high ‘U’ values and all glazing will be argon-filled triple glazed units in thermally broken frames.