Self Build House in the Cotswolds
The brief was for a new house, to replace a decrepit bungalow, which would be a clean, bright, informal, uplifting family home, an exemplar of sustainability, and a sensitive addition to a Cotswold village all at the same time. Being right on the edge of an elevated village in the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty it was important the new building was comfortable in its context and did not proclaim itself in size, shape or material.
The scheme was sold to the planners based on the contextural qualities of the building materials and the typology of a barn-like aesthetic; a single storey of stonework with a steep-pitched roof atop.
To contrast the crumbly contextural stone base Adrian James, the architects sought to make the roof a slick reinterpretation of a 'barn-roof'. They did not want to break the roof line with dormer windows as they wanted to retain the feeling of a single storey barn so roof lights were set flush to the roof line.
They decided to emphasise the curves to the roof by taking zinc clad margins from the eaves up to the sills of the roof windows – as if a strip had been peeled from the roof. This detail was particularly successful as an ordering device in tying the roof windows to the eaves rather than allowing them to float in space.
Key to all of this was the selection of the roof tile to hold the composition together. Adrian James Architects had used Dreadnought Tiles smooth Staffordshire Blue plain tiles on a previous project and had really liked the colour. Michael Marshall from Adrian James explains “It has a particular purple tone which we thought would complement the zinc very well. More than that, the tile gives off an almost metallic sheen in the light which, from a distance looks more like a machine-made metallic carapace rather than a hand-made tile clad roof. The small size of the tile was also a factor in that from a distance you don't read the individual tile just the smooth, flush whole. Also, being a smaller unit it handled the curves at the eaves beautifully. No other tile could offer so much in settling our aesthetic – it was the only choice to make really”.
The result is a house that is comfortably familiar from a distance but smooth and contemporary close up. The malleability of stone, plain tiles and zinc is exploited so together they spread up around and over the house in a single curved plane.
Despite a tight budget, the building design and the finishes for this project are very disciplined. Money was spent where necessary to create the standard of material, detail and finish necessary for both the interior and exterior aesthetic.