Water Farm is a 5 bedroom off-grid family home. The location of the proposal is on the edge of Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The client had an ambition to create a unique and functional rural home suited to the needs of a young family of 5, with strong historic ties to the site.
Reinterpreting the Local Character
The proposal aims to translate recognisable, local features into a unique and exciting rural home. Thus it reinterpretes the defining characteristics of the local area and responds to particular features in the landscape. The building typologies found in the nearby villages have influenced the overriding design concept. The traditional farmsteads and the material expression of beautiful old timber-frames informed many of the key design decisions and features. A heavy weight plinth defines the ground floor. Furthermore, the striking timber clad roof form contrasts with the mass of the plinth.
Sited within this picturesque landscape, views out of the house and connection with the surrounding landscape defined the spatial arrangement. As part of the brief, the client wanted spaces to be connected and feel open whilst remaining separate from one another. Therefore, this resulted in a stepped ground floor which is arranged around a modest central courtyard. The courtyard helps minimise the plan depth to aid ventilation and increases natural within. This intermediate space also creates a layering of views through the house and to the landscape beyond. Furthermore, each space on the ground floor has a stepped threshold. The stepped ground floor plane responds to the sloping site and the subsequent differing floor to ceiling heights give hierarchy to the living spaces.
Where the ground floor is expressed through the changes in the ground plane, conversely the first floor is defined by the striking geometry of the roof form – giving each room a unique spatial quality. The gable ends offer the two main bedrooms expansive views across the surrounding landscape.