h2architecture were recently approached to look at a residential property within the south downs national park. the existing property sits on a steeply sloping site facing north west. our initial proposals were for two possibilities: either to adapt the existing structure or to replace the structure with a new building.
the proposals for adapting the existing house looked to simplify the current layout, removing a more recent addition and replacing this with a 2 storey element that would provide the additional bedroom accommodation required. the design reduces the building expression to two simple elements that intersect one another. the larger element runs parallel to the road boundary to the south east and is designed with new timber cladding and a mono-pitched zinc roof, to minimise the scale of the building and to project a more ‘agricultural’ form to the roadside. the second form is expressed more vertically as a tower with an enclosed roof garden maximising the views out over the surrounding landscape.
the proposal for a new building reconsiders the relationship of the house with the sloping landscape and the views across the site. retaining the existing basement structure to minimise excavation and retaining wall structures, the house is re-imagined as a series of slim towers, divided by vertical voids. the design breaks the building down into a series of smaller inter-linked structures that rotate in plan to offer different aspects out over the site and countryside. the gaps between the structures allow for glimpsed views through the property and a better internal relationship between the levels. the top floor is designed to accommodate the main ‘living rooms’ with the best views. roof terraces on the lower structures provide external space to these rooms and a series of interconnecting voids allow links up from the lower levels that contain further living spaces which benefit from their connection to the garden.