Bluebell Cottage is a large detached private home that is situated in Crawley, near Winchester. The house, occupying the last development at the end of a track, faces north with a large ‘front’ garden as the main usable space.
The garden receives sunlight throughout the day and is overlooked only by the surrounding tree and fields.
The active site is an old tennis court that requires replacement or a change of use. The proposal seeks to create a pool-house that is of a discrete nature, does not block views to the fields, is of minimal impact and provides fun/enjoyment for the family.
Sited with its ‘back’ to woodland, the folded rectangular form frames views across the garden/fields and integrates with the landscape to provide a usable space but with minimal impact.
From the outset the design looked to link movement from public areas through to private areas in the form of designed elements that form visual barriers rather than physical blockades. This is ultimately dictated by the decking acting as a ‘catwalk’ to control the experience.
Taking influence from the surrounding woodlands the design looks to use timber in its construction through various forms. A conceptual approach of using timber in a structural and natural way can be used to create the basis of the form. The concept allows all sections of a ‘tree’ to be utilised in different construction techniques on the project i.e. the centre of the trunk as traditional, strong structural timber and the leftover’s to be manufactured into modern forms. In this case, exposed internal timber walls lend a memory to the timber structure and the external landscape.
The brief needed to satisfy the clients desire for a self-build project and implied a necessity for the design to allow for simplified building processes; emphasised by a pre-fabricated timber structure. Designed in the UK the timber CLT panels were manufactured in Austria and delivered in a single load flat packed to site. It then only took 2 days for the structure to be erected and installed. With such accuracy achieved in pre-fabrication it allowed for the windows to be order off plan and installed in matter of days following. This process drastically reducing the waiting time on site and ensured a speedy watertight shell.
With the main structure installed, it then allowed the client to tackle each section in stages. Working from the exterior to interior the sedum grass roof was applied followed by the vertical oak cladding and so forth. Oak was specified for the external appear of the building and decking to not only tie back to the theory of the surrounding trees but to also provide a continually changing façade. The timber, over time, will soften and silver to blend the building into the background.
Although budget constraints were set out at the beginning of the project, it was of greater necessity to ensure that the build-abilty of the project was simple and easy to put together being a self build project. The project completed in November 2012.
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