rural evolution

Planning application

The design and form of these two new dwellings draw upon listed local buildings to generate an agricultural narrative, while traditional materials and simple detailing combine to embed these family homes within their site. Situated on an open plot among an organically evolved street pattern in the village of Swavesey, near Cambridge, the subtle articulation reflects the rural evolution.

design

One of the adjacent listed buildings to the site, which were used to inform a design narrative to our design, is a pair of attic cottages. The cottages were built in the seventeenth century initially to form one large space at ground level, and adapted in the nineteenth century to contain sleeping spaces within the roof and lean-to additions.

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The evolution of the cottages is embodied in our concept with the principle building form conceived as four pitched roof structures, placed in a quadrant. Each pair of structures have subsequently been connected by a lower profile volume to form and articulate the plan layout.

The designs optimise the site’s south west orientation with each principle building taking advantage of an open roof volume to form the main sleeping spaces accessed via a top lit entrance stair. At ground floor, open plan living spaces placed at the rear connect to the garden. At the front, sheltered entrances provide a private threshold to the shared frontage and access. On the north side of the plan, blind walls offer privacy to neighbours, with windows placed predominantly facing south, east and west enabling good daylight and sunlight penetration.

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The new houses carefully juxtapose a contemporary vernacular of brick walls and striking elevations with shallow rooflines and materials to evoke familiar silhouettes found in the the surrounding setting. Smooth cut brickwork of Victorian buildings found locally are echoed by the new buildings, which use brickwork punctuated by large openings. These are recessed and set in a relief of contrasting off-white cladding, or simply punctuated to form a striking asymmetric balance. The metal roofs, contrasting red brick chimneys, simple detailing, and double boarded treated timber have all been chosen to resonate with traditional construction methods found locally.

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