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The client owned a house with a long sloping garden that terminated at the street with a triple garage. Outline planning permission had been granted to build a house above the garage, and the garage had been constructed several years ago with that in mind.
The architects were asked to design a new house that responded more inventively to the site than the outline permission, and to maximise the outside space.
The site has a wedge shaped plan fitting between an historic public footpath that converges with the street, and the street retaining wall. The site slopes steeply away from the street, and is restricted to the north by two mature yew trees that are protected.
The building design was developed to fit between the Root Protection Areas of the trees, the boundary walls, and the rear of the garage in order to use the existing garage roof slab as a patio accessed directly from the living areas. This would be the only level south facing external area.
The principles of construction developed from the requirement to support excavated ground against the slope. Contiguous piling provided support during excavation, and load-bearing capacity to support the superstructure. The latter was timber-framed to contribute towards the Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4 target, with fully-insulated studwork walls, external Bitroc sheathing, and a natural limestone rubble external cladding. A steel frame supports the floors above the large clear openings that face south over the terrace, and enable the sliding doors to open away from the centre of the plan leaving an uninterrupted clear opening.
Ben Gale, Bath
Stephen Brooks Architect ♦ RIBA ♦ Based in Bath ♦ 01225 482424 ♦ All content is copyright © 2012