Situated on the edge of Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the proposal at Water Farm is for a new, 5 bedroom off-grid home. With strong historic ties to the site, the client’s ambition is to create a unique and functional rural home suited to the needs of a young family of 5.
Reinterpreting the Local Character
Arranged over three storeys, the building aims to be read as an object in the landscape. By reinterpreting the defining characteristics of the local area and responding to particular features in the landscape, the proposal aims to translate recognisable, local features into a unique and exciting rural home. The building typologies found in the nearby villages have had a big influence on the overriding design concept. The arrangement of traditional farm stead’s and the material expression of beautiful old timber-frame have informed many of the key design decisions and features. A heavy weight plinth defines the ground floor. The striking timber clad roof form, contrasts the mass of the plinth.
Sited within this picturesque landscape, views out of the house and connections with the surrounding landscape is a key feature to the proposals spatial arrangement. As part of the brief, the client wanted spaces to be connected and feel open whilst remaining separate from one another. This resulted in a stepped ground floor which is arranged around a modest central courtyard. The courtyard helps minimise the plan depth as well as acts providing a light source or ‘lantern’. This intermediate space also creates a layering of views through the house visually connecting the different rooms with one another leading to views to the landscape beyond. Each space on the ground floor has a stepped threshold define one space from another. The stepped ground plane is also a response to the sloping nature of the site. The stepped rooms also give hierarchy to the different spaces through changing in ceiling heights.
Where the ground floor is expressed through the changes in the ground plane the first floor rooms are defined by the complex geometry of the roof form. This form gives each room a unique spatial quality. The gable ends offer the two main bedrooms with expansive views over the surrounding landscape.