New four bedroom detached house in woodland

The site is within a managed woodland which creates a landscape gap between two urban areas. There are a small number of substantial houses and a care home within the greater wooded area. The site has a difficult planning history and a development within the context has a number of challenges.

The practice was engaged for this project due to the continuing involvement with low energy and eco houses as it was anticipated that such construction would be the minimum starting point for the planning application. The house would also have to be to an innovative design, one which showed a high level of architectural design or preferably both. Key to this would be the integration of the proposals into the particular context.

The present proposal is for a freeform house governed by the limits of the root protection area of the trees which form a comparatively small clearing within the general woodland. The majority of the accommodation is in discrete blocks with links between around the main living core which takes the form of a 3 storey tower with a roof terrace over. The lowest storey is a basement with living space above and above that the master bedroom suite. The tower itself is envisaged as a “fire tower” which is a feature of some woodland areas with the single storey elements with irregular and varying angled roofs relating to giant leaves or tree canopies. The lower roofs would take the form of “green” roofs with planting to decrease the rate of water runoff and provide areas for biodiversity as well as reinstating areas of landscape over the construction below.

The relationship to the woodland is carried through in the cladding of the major part of the house with dark vertical rough timber boarding with a low plinth of natural random stone anchoring the house to the ground. The construction of the house would be in timber framing, possibly using managed timber from the site, provide significant levels of insulation to the walls, floors and roofs and use high levels of airtightness, ventilation with heat recovery and renewable energy sources to provide a near zero energy house.

RIBA AECB Architect in the House Architects Registration Board Association of Self-Build Architects