The clients for this new-build house approached us having purchased a plot of land set in deciduous woodland in Oxfordshire. We were tasked with designing an open and unique house which could make the most of the beautiful surroundings.
A key challenge was to obtain planning permission for a modern building in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The siting of the house was critical in our discussion with the local planning authorities. We have positioned the house so as to take in the best views, while remaining largely hidden from a public path across the valley.
In order to achieve an energy efficient dwelling we developed a sophisticated Mechanical and Electrical system. Heating, hot water and pool heating are supplied by air source heat pumps located in the existing stable block. Major plant is also housed here and pumped via super insulated pipework in ducts under the driveway to the main house. A heat exchange system allows energy to be recovered from the living spaces and the swimming pool.
The house is divided into a living wing and a bedroom wing, with a fully glazed stair hall forming the fulcrum of the composition. The first floor living space and master suite benefit from spectacular views of the surrounding woodland. A cantilevered terrace runs along the length of the south facing façade, extending the living space into a landscape with dramatic effect.
Traditional Cotswold stone walls afford the house a great sense of solidity. This stone exterior creates an interesting juxtaposition with the buildings modern detailing, expanses of glass and slender steel roof.
Commended, Sunday Times British Homes Awards, 2014