Claywood House, a new 5-bedroom low-carbon home has been designed to meet the needs of a wheelchair dependant client and to create spaces that allow her to live independently. The new building is located within the orchard of the client’s previous home – a multi levelled building unsuitable for conversion (but retained and sold). The house is designed as a counterpoint to the original and with an architecture of contrast reflecting a ‘fresh start’ for the client and her family.
The design celebrates the beautiful setting and builds into the landscape itself. The shape of the building responds to the complex geometry of the topography and the site boundary and works with the slope of the site to reduce the visual impact to the surrounding area. The Claywood house is cut away to direct views across the garden and away from the former home, creating sheltered living spaces and establishing a clear entrance. A privately accessed guest annex is located to the south of the site.
Drawing inspiration from the nearby historic brickworks and clay pits, the earth bound ‘plinth’ is formed from a pale coloured, long-format brick. Chamfers and deep reveals express the depth and solidity of the ground floor, which contains the main living spaces, garage and pool area. A ‘lightweight’ slatted timber-clad form supported on the ‘heavy’ brick plinth, contains the bedrooms areas and annex. This element emerges from the trees with gaps that open in the slatted timber to reveal windows on the east and west façades. The timber slats are arranged in a rhythmic pattern designed to mimic the vertical trunks of the trees in the woodland opposite.
Spaces have been designed to offer moments of delight for the whole family. Inclusive design features include specifically placed floor to ceiling and low windows which allow views into the gardens whether standing or seated. Wide corridors upstairs mean casual passing is easy, while recesses give ample room for extra wide turning circles and a place to rest and enjoy the morning sun. Flush thresholds blur the boundaries between inside and outside space, at the same time allowing for easy wheelchair access into the landscaped garden. Extra-large garage and generous storage areas keep wheelchairs easily accessed and tucked away. The new building is fully accessible with a lift and provides facilities for the specialist care required by the client including a physiotherapy pool, gym and carer’s suite.
The Claywood house incorporates a ground source heat pump, a 12kw Photovoltaic array and a mechanical heat recovery ventilation system. Further, the building envelope is extremely well insulated and airtight thereby creating a highly sustainable new building.