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Kite House

Plans for a private bespoke new build house have been submitted for planning by RIBA award winning architects AR Design Studio.

The scheme replaces an existing house and annex on the site, providing a contemporary 4-bed dwelling that responds to both the client’s requirements and the challenging site constraints. Set amongst a verdant backdrop and overlooking the River Avon, the site offered great potential with inspiration being taken from the natural topography of the site, the river and the long distance views. To the North-West across the floodplain, Salisbury Cathedral’s spire can be spotted and the South-West aspect affords a far reaching outlook across the water meadows and down the river.

These constraints orchestrated a multifaceted three winged approach to the design, with the house carefully positioned to avoid close proximity to the banks of the river. The cranked form of the house responds to each of the views which then informs the three resulting gardens; the arrival courtyard, vegetable garden and waterside gardens. The dwelling is spread over two clearly defined storeys. The approach to the house via the entrance courtyard is at upper ground, with the building initially appearing as single storey from this side in order to remain visibly low on the site and in keeping with the surrounding dwellings.

The eastern and northern wings are single storey in their entirety, while the southern wing steps down the slope to reveal the lower ground floor beneath. The entrance to the house is at the junction of the three wings and immediately delivers views out over the river, floodplain and cathedral while a staircase winds down through a double height atrium to the floor below. To the north are the main living and entertaining spaces, which offers both intimate views of the woodland over the private gardens to the east and expansive views over the surrounding countryside and river to the west.

The more private spaces, such as bedrooms, dressing rooms and bathrooms are in the southern wing in order to create privacy. The bedrooms are located across both storeys, with the master suite at upper ground floor offering expansive views down the river. The eastern wing contains the services, garage and back of house spaces, sheltering the private gardens from the entrance courtyard. The plan is organised to be one room deep, allowing for natural cross ventilation and natural light throughout the course of the day, reducing the need for artificial lighting and mechanical systems.

The principal rooms are set back from the elevation, not only allowing for external balconies but to allow the roof to provide a form of solar control and prevent overheating during the summer months. This partnered with an air tight building envelope insulated well above that of the building regulations will ensure that the house will require minimal energy input throughout the year.

The faceted roofs slopes gently down towards the centre of the house and meet at a point over the entrance hall. This provides a focal point for the house and draws those arriving at the property towards the front door. To blend the building into its surroundings a material palette of timber and grey brick was chosen.

The natural slope of the site has been retained with planting introduced at higher ground to soften the building within its surroundings and provide opportunity for ecological enhancements and habitat creation. Susceptible lower slopes facing the river would remain as naturally planted meadow land. As such, the proposal sits seamlessly within the surrounding landscape and appears visually lost against the topography and wooded backdrop. This has resulted in a one-off contemporary design which enhances the architectural distinctiveness of the area whilst blending into the verdant context, creating conditions for the building and its site to thrive in the future.

Image Credit: Nu.Ma
Project Credit: AR Design Studio

AR Design Studio, Winchester, UK
Andy Ramus (Director & Architect)
Tom Ford (Project Lead & Architectural Designer)

Client– Undisclosed
Budget– Undisclosed
Area (GEA)– 397sqm

Design Team & Consultants
Planning Consultants – PlanIt Consulting
Landscape Design & Visual Assessment– Ibbotson Studios
Ecology Consultants – ECOSA
Arboricultural Consultants – Barrell Tree Care
Flood Risk Consultants – Ark Environmental Consultancy