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Upside Down House

Upside Down House

New dwelling, Dinas Powys

The clients needed a lifetime home but loved the location of their family home, the answer was to create a purpose designed home adjacent to their existing cottage. Conceived as the ‘upside down house’, the design evolved in response to the existing cottage and context. The external landscape taken by the footprint of the new dwelling, is ‘transferred’ creating a rooftop garden which gives outstanding elevated views, whilst the interior provides a series of spatial connections in and through the building, organized off a double height, top lit void which drapes light into inner spaces at both levels.

The relatively narrow residential curtilage of the plot which their existing cottage occupied meant amenity space for both dwellings needed careful consideration, as did the relationship with the existing cottage to maintain privacy. The proposal aimed to revive an underutilized area of the site with a new contemporary sensitively designed sustainable dwelling, exploiting the rural setting and views and designed to meet lifetime home requirements.

The dwelling’s form, layout and scale evolved entirely in response to the existing cottage, although the character and arrangement of spaces within the new design are handled very differently.

The dwelling benefits from: a highly insulated external fabric; timber frame structure; green roofs; solar shading; reflective glazing; air source heat pump providing the main heating and hot water; wood burning stoves and low energy LED lighting with intelligent controls. The design has achieved an EPC rating of B with an overall score of 83/100 which is considered to be relatively high without the input of photovoltaic or solar thermal systems. In addition to the environmental sustainability requirements of the client’s brief there was also a key requirement for a socially sustainable dwelling. The brief was to create a lifetime home that would bring the site into full time use, as such the dwelling benefits from and achieves all relevant lifetime home criteria including: a platform lift; covered under croft entrance and parking; generous circulation spaces and flush thresholds.

The scheme set a precedent for extending the residential curtilage at the end of the existing settlement boundary. It was won on Appeal one year on from the original planning application being submitted.

“A lifetime ambition has been fulfilled. The architects were perfect for the job, they listened carefully to what we wanted but incorporated their own ideas into the brief. The house is much better because of that. We love the house, it is beautiful, (some say stunning) easy to maintain and with glorious views from every aspect. The views over fields, towns, the Bristol Chanel and Somerset in the distance make us feel very privileged. The house is light, warm, cost effective and feels very welcoming. Totally suitable for a lifetime home and we continue to receive support from the firm”

 Client Testimonial
Private Client
320 m²
Completed August 2014
Shortlisted for RSAW Welsh Architecture award 2015, shortlisted for Eisteddfod Gold Medal 2015.

Plans + Sketches