a photograph of a bright modern interior showing views out of large windows with dining room furniture set on a polished concrete floor

B for Broad Oak…

This is the first of a series of posts showcasing a selection of our architecture, interior design and masterplan projects, some quite recent and others from the archives, presented in alphabetical order.

First up is our scheme for three new homes in Broad Oak, an East Sussex village near Hastings and Rye. Our client, Lofthome UK, website here, appointed us to prepare designs for new homes on a green field site, overlooking a valley and within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or AONB for short. They asked that we utilise a Dutch modular system for the new homes and that we liaise with the factory in Amsterdam to customise their standard components to suit the site and the UK market. Once we had completed an appraisal of what the system had to offer, it was an easy decision to proceed as the type of interiors that can be produced, as seen in the image at the head of this post, are an architect’s dream. An abundance of space and light is possible with the system and the provision of homes such as these will tip the balance towards healthy space provision, rather than in favour of the often mean bare minimum accommodation that is provided in the UK mass housing market.

The following two images show the new homes on the site, represented as a ‘figure ground’ in the first image and a computer simulation of the new homes nestling in amongst existing and new trees in the second. We use figure grounds to illustrate how new buildings relate to existing buildings with a particular emphasis on how they respond to the prevalent ‘grain’ or pattern of the surrounding buildings, in this case the wider village. Removing the visual clutter of roads and trees allows the grain to be easily discerned.

A figure ground, or a plan showing only the plan view of the buildings in the village, with the proposed new homes shown shaded in purple, intended to illustrate how the new homes will nestle into the village

A computer generated image showing three new, modern homes with fully glazed gable ends, located in a verdant landscape of grass, trees and vivacious planting.

An interesting feature of the proposed homes is the absence of rainwater pipes and guttering as the profiled cladding, a sine wave form in this instance, envelopes the roof and walls in a seamless pattern. Rainwater is allowed to run from the roofs down the walls into a land drain that runs around the building and on to a storage tank. The stored rainwater can then be used for watering the garden and for flushing toilets, reducing the water demand of the new properties. The continuous cladding can be seen in the image below, which also illustrates a very important feature of the new home, the fully glazed gable end. This feature allows the interior to be flooded with light and provides the new occupants with an amazing view from the main living space to the open countryside beyond. As the gable end is south facing, we have included hardwood louvres to filter  direct summer light whilst allowing the weaker winter sunlight to passively warm the interior of the home.

A computer generated image showing the modern home, clad in anthracite profile metal cladding with hardwood panels and a fully glazed gable end, also showing how the new home is sited on a patio of resin bound gravel, alongside a silver birch tree and lilac feature planting bed.

The most striking feature of the proposed system is the ability to provide an abundance of space for each of the different rooms. The plans below show the ground floor, on the left and the first floor on the right. The ground floor contains entrance lobby, open plan living and dining area, large kitchen and separate study and a ground floor bedroom with ensuite. The plant room, containing control gear for the mechanical ventilation and heat recovery, ground source heating and photovoltaic cell array systems is inserted under the stairs, thereby making use of a space that is normally wasted. As the modular system utilises a steel frame, it is possible to modify the internal arrangement and combine the study and ground floor bedroom to provide a separate bedroom and living area for an elderly relative, with direct and fully accessible access to bathroom facilities. The current plan arrangement at ground floor provides an ideal layout for an elderly relative or guests to stay in the home as well as a home working space for the occupants.

A computer drawing showing the plan of the ground and first floors of the new homes, illustrating the open plan nature of the house and the spacious nature of the rooms

At first floor, we have provided three bedrooms- one master suite, one double bedroom and one single bedroom. Current minimum space standards require double bedrooms to be 11.5m² and single bedrooms to be 7.5m². Our double bedrooms are 15m² and the single bedroom is 10.5m², exceeding the minimum by a healthy margin. We advised our client that the master suite should have an ensuite and separate dressing area in order to make this style of home as attractive as possible to prospective purchasers. The plan below illustrates a master suite with bedroom flowing into dressing area and on into an ensuite that benefits from long views across the triple height living space to the countryside beyond.

The following images and the one used at the head of this post have been reproduced courtesy of Hardeman, the Dutch system build specialist and show the type of interior that can be achieved.

a photograph of a bright modern interior showing a triple height living space with views out of large windows and modern living room furniture set on a polished concrete floor.

a photograph of a bright modern interior showing views out of large windows with dining room furniture set on a polished concrete floor

a photograph of a bright modern kitchen interior with views out of large windows and bright white kitchen units and modern appliances.

a photograph of a modern bedroom interior with a feature wall painted in dark orange and showing how the room nestles into the roof pitch, providing a beautifully high ceiling.

We are very excited to be working with Lofthome UK. If you would like to know more, please do get in touch. Comments and likes are always welcome!


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