The client’s brief was for a house with a variety of spaces, high ceilings and full of light.
The house is formed of three pavilions united by a curving yellow three-storey ‘inhabited’ wall that runs down the centre of the plan. The pavilions are topped with barrel vaulted zinc roofs.
The client’s collection of oriental antiquities were a major influence on the character of the interior, with every opportunity taken to form display spaces by carving recesses and concealing lighting.
A key concept for the building was the transition from road to river. A pier like timber deck runs through the house and to the river’s edge, giving uninterrupted views of the river from the entrance. This raised platform also avoids the roots of a row of trees which had to be retained to meet the planning restrictions.
The river elevation is formed of a large expanse of glazing, which works in unison with motorised external timber blinds. These provide a dynamic environmental system that accommodates the changeable English weather without compromising the client’s wish for maximising sunshine throughout the house.
The client, an architect who had worked in Hong Kong for 15 years, was out of touch with the English planning system and therefore reluctant to take on the project himself. He approached us because of our reputation for responsive and open-minded design and track-record of projects in sensitive sites.