LCE were brought in by the client to take a fresh look at a scheme for a woodland site at Summerhill, Kingscote, East Grinstead. The previous scheme had been declined by the planning authority for its far greater prominence compared to the existing dwelling and resulting ‘visual impact’ on the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). As such the challenge was to design the client a large family home but, which as far as possible replicated the current setting of a simple rural barn structure within a woodland clearing.
To do this and to achieve the area requirements of a four bedroom house, LCE have used the natural fall of the site to create an upside down house with the living space on top and the sleep areas set into the hillside below. The resulting scheme sits comfortable in its surrounding and has been sensitively designed to work within the site constraints and to respect and enhance the AONB.
A simple rectangle in plan, the entrance and main circulation stair between floors is two thirds of the way along its length. This then divides the living space into two main areas, to the west the main living, dining and kitchen space, all forming part of an open plan arrangement, with an external terrace to the south. To the east is ancillary space and a study that looks out to the quieter aspect of the woodland views. At the lower ground levels the plan is L-shaped in form with the main wing of bedrooms following the living space above.
The proposed palette of materials has been selected to enable the house to blend into its countryside setting and to reflect the local vernacular. A simple black painted timber weather board is wrapped over the upper storey pitched roof barn, forming both the walls and roof cladding. Whilst the more solid and grounded lower level uses the local brick stock, West Hoathly, to form the plinth on to which the ‘barn’ above, sits.
The design is to be well insulated, air tight and triple glazed; the building will also use a combination of earth cooling, PVs & Battery cells, solar shading, MVHR and ground source heat pumps to provide a highly energy efficient building.