We have created an energy-efficient sustainable home built into the rugged hillside of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, nestled amongst mature pine trees and harnessing views of the stunning Welsh coastline.
The existing dwelling did not take advantage of the wonderful views of the sea from the site. The client’s brief focused therefore on the potential of the location and the importance of the context of the site; the topography and existing trees. Keen gardeners and owners of two dogs, they wanted a house that would create a retreat that would be suitable for the warm months and harsh winters experienced in this area. Year round they wanted to be able to hear and smell the sea.
Contrary to ‘replacement dwelling’ policy, we proposed relocating the dwelling to maximise sea views. Working with the topography of the site, it quickly became apparent that the arrival point would become a hidden gem, buried into the existing hillside, with ancillary spaces housed at lower ground floor level.
The principal accommodation is provided at ground floor ensuring the spectacular views are maximised and accommodation rationalised; creating three zones within one level: sleeping, relaxing, and living. Sight lines through the building have been created, forming spaces that are connected to their outside environment. The first floor provides the main bedroom and ensuite with an enviable view from the bath down to the sandy beach.
At the centre of the home is a three storey indoor garden, filled with luscious trees and planting. This creates a staggering interior that allows the clients to garden indoors, all year round, an idea which developed as part of an evolving collaborative design process with the clients.
We strongly believe in early dialogue with the Local Planning Authority and this allowed us to convey the quality of the proposals and their appropriateness to the setting. As a result the planning process was smooth.
In terms of materials, the building is clad in sustainably-sourced Kebony wood, which is created through ‘an environmentally friendly process which modifies sustainably sourced softwoods. The result is a weathered natural silver-grey patina timber cladding, which sits delicately in the rural setting.
The ground floor and first floor of the building are constructed in timber frame with parallel chord trusses and steels beams where required. The lower floor, which acts as a retaining wall, is constructed in in-situ concrete with locally sourced Gwrhyd Pennant Stone cladding used on exposed walls.
The project was originally commissioned in November 2016. With the support of the local planning authority via pre-application discussions, planning consent was granted in September 2017. The client’s chosen contractor took possession of the site in May 2018, completing works to enable the client to move in to their new home in December 2020. The nature of the site location and difficult access proved challenging, but the team worked collaboratively to overcome these challenges and produce a piece of architecture to be proud of that contributes to the locality.
- Private Client
- 89/100 (B)
- Completed 2020