Centuries of additions and alterations have masked the building’s original form and materiality. The addition of various stable blocks and outbuildings have - largely accidentally - created sunny courtyards and beautiful views out into the flat, arable countryside. Despite the advantages of the site, the pre-existing buildings had no architectural cohesion as a house, and the interiors were poorly-lit and uninviting.
Continuing the theme of exposure of historic features, and the clear delineation between old and new, the design involves addition of five simple, pitched-roof volumes. Clad hermetically in weathering larch, with concealed gutters and inset black steel windows, the new structures are ghosts of the original hovel’s solid stone form. Internally a new poured concrete floor will flow continuously through the old and new spaces, stepping with the natural ground level, while the roofs above reinforce the datum of the original hovel.
The new structures re-create the clients’ favourite features - a sheltered South-facing walled courtyard and the presence of tactile materials. Primary living areas all address the central courtyard, while carefully-composed perforations in the outer walls frame views into the countryside. Further, secondary courtyards are created between volumes containing sleeping, bathing and contemplation spaces.