Set within the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Beauty, this 730M2 family house sits within a 4.5HA woodland site. This part of Surrey has a tradition of Arts & Crafts country houses from the early 2oth century, so the ambition is to create a contemporary country house that continues in this tradition. We therefore look towards the historical plan of the country house, which was based on buildings formed from an assembly of different wings, enclosing courtyards and gardens, as well as a philosophy of truth to craft and materials.
The house also had to fulfill the client’s aspirations for a large, but unostentatious house so the design exploits a sophisticated vernacular aesthetic.
We seek to reflect an updated Surrey Arts & Crafts vernacular by the use of a strong masonry base of coursed stone which also is used on enclosing courtyard walls. In plan, the house straddles the site so that all main living spaces and bedrooms enjoy distant views across woodland and towards a small lake, while to the north, an entrance courtyard is framed by two single-storey wings containing a large home office and garaging.
The main body of the house is clad in a black stained timber boarding to reflect an agricultural vernacular and evoke a somewhat more abstract form, and to the south forms a giant framed facade with a largely glazed wall deeply recessed to provide solar shading. A concrete chimney anchors the house to the site.
To the entrance facade, a copper clad ‘bay’ supplements the earthy material palette to add a layer of sophistication to the house.
The primary structure is load-bearing masonry to afford thermal mass, over- clad with insulation and stone or timber facing. The intermediate floor is in timber supported on deep exposed oak beams. Windows are in a bronze anodised aluminium. Roofs are single ply membrane, with roofs over ground floor accommodation sedum covered.
Landscape has been a crucial part of the design and has been evolved alongside one of the UK’s pre-eminent landscape architects – Tom Stuart Smith.
The house will run on a ground source heat pump, supplemented by two woodburning stoves serving the main living spaces. Additional hot water will be generated by solar thermal array mounted on the main roof.