The architect totally got the brief.
That brief was shaped around three key considerations:
We wanted a house that was big enough to comfortably accommodate the two of us and our lifestyle – and no bigger. For us that meant carefully considered ,flexible, multipurpose spaces that created a sense of space whilst retaining a modest footprint.
We wanted materials and design that would soften and blend with the landscape. Avoiding ‘bling’ and assertive ‘shininess’ that imposed on the viewer were of fundamental importance to us.
And most of all we wanted to make the most of the view.
Lane End is located on the edge of the South Downs on an elevated site surrounded by woodland and stunning views. It replaces a poorly constructed, inefficient home that didn’t engage with the location.
The design creates a contemporary, energy efficient home, incorporating natural materials to harmonise with the site, designed and built to very high standards but created to a modest budget without compromising the design integrity of the scheme.
The ground floor has an open plan living space, separate music room, office, a strong connection with the outside with full height doors onto a large covered BBQ terrace. A separate living room for colder months, smaller and more intimate in scale with a feature fireplace crafted from locally sourced brick, the chimney rises through the home anchoring the house.
Architecturally drawing upon local vernacular forms and materiality for inspiration, adopting an asymmetric pitched shingle roof wrapping down the northern face. The shingles are a reference to Arts and Crafts buildings locally, a lighter, textured finish that mellows. The entrance on the approach appears restrained, maintaining privacy, contrasting with the expressive and open south façade.
Inside, double height spaces are lined with limed Douglas Fir, exaggerating the feeling of light and reflective of the exterior. Large windows located on the south create a fluid relationship with outside, flooding the interior with daylight.
Bedrooms are located on first floor either end of the house, separated by a bridge that doubles as a study. A balcony extends the full width, the form extrudes the house, emphasising the horizontal also providing solar shading. Planters are incorporated its length, further connectivity to the landscape. An important requirement in the brief was for a ‘secret place’, somewhere where the clients could hide and relax in. On the first floor a snug has been created, with a day bed and large picture windows to allow the owners to relax and enjoy the ever changing views throughout the year.
Arranged to maximise the site and passive solar gain, the timber frame structure minimises environmental impact reducing embodied carbon of construction materials. Large overhangs provides solar control with, openings distributed to maximise natural cross ventilation.
The client was extremely hands on in their approach, getting involved in all aspects of the build including putting up the internal cladding and learning how to polish the concrete flooring. The landscaping, around the house and on the balcony, was also created by the client.
Connectivity to the landscape was also a key design driver, large windows located on the south elevation create a fluid relationship between inside and outside, offering spectacular views of the immediate planting by the house and the expansive views of the surrounding landscape. The first floor balcony also incorporates a planted herb garden and a natural trellis of espalier Hornbeam along its length, further enhances the connection to the landscape whilst also offering privacy for the bedrooms from walkers in the parkland beyond.
The interior of the house is flooded with an abundance of natural daylight, through the large windows on the south elevation.
To future proof the home, and offer flexibility to the layout, a bedroom has been included on the ground floor to offer access to all facilities on one level.
The design was influenced by positive sustainable objectives.
In the building’s plan it was arranged to maximise passive sustainability measures such as solar gain.
Large overhangs and a natural trellis of espalier Hornbeam to the south elevation provides solar control and openings have been distributed to maximise natural cross ventilation which helps with purge ventilation in the hottest summer months.
Materials were selected for their positive environmental impact, the highly insulated timber frame structure minimises the environmental impact reducing the embodied carbon of construction materials and the building’s long-term running costs and associated CO2 emissions. Built to low energy house standards with a high air tightness levels, the ground floor concrete slab has been left exposed and polished offering the benefits of thermal mass to even out diurnal temperature fluctuations.
Lane End was designed as a fabric first design.
An MVHR system further reduces CO2 emissions by recycling heat from the kitchen and bathrooms and mixing this with fresh air which is circulated to colder spaces.
Built to low energy standards and air tightness level of 3.5 m3/(h.m2) @50 Pa , the ground floor concrete slab has been left exposed and polished offering the benefits of thermal mass to even out diurnal temperature fluctuations.
All timber cladding is sourced from renewable and local sources with British Grown Douglas Fir used internally. Bricks are hand-made locally.
Landscaping was an integral aspect of the design, the existing trees on site protect and shield the house from the outside world, while the immediate landscaping creates a sympathetic and seamless transition between the inside and outside of the house throughout the seasons.
The materials that were selected introduce texture to the building, using materials such as wood, brick and stone used in a contemporary way. The scheme avoided materials which could be harmful to the environment, natural materials were selected to harmonise the building to the site.
The design seeks to minimise the environmental impact, by utilising a super insulated fabric scheme integrates many sustainable initiatives to minimise carbon emissions and long term running costs.
Sustainability ultimately means something that is appropriate, is loved, lasts a long time and uses very little during its lifetime.
All of the standard methods have been completed such as SAP calculations and EPS ratings. The house was built to Passive House ideology, however an official certification was not sought.
The approach was to create a building that was as passive as possible in its performance. We looked towards the Passivhaus standard as inspiration, however, this type of certification was not sought after by the client as it could have been too confining by design to the open dialogue with the landscape they desired.
Image Credit Richard Chivers
Internal Area: 185sqm
Contract type: Design & Build
Contractor: Object Assemble – Ciaran Wood
Structural Engineer: McCarey Simmonds Ltd
QS / Cost Consultant – APS Associates