On a beautiful site just outside Cambridge our clients had bought an old farmhouse was in such a severe state of disrepair that it had to be demolished. Plans were drawn up for a replacement house, which the planners decided should look like an old barn with black timber cladding and a red tiled roof.
We decided to treat this as an opportunity rather than a restriction. Being a New Build, it never was a barn, so rather than mimic the details of the local farm buildings, we have updated and reinterpreted them into a new rural vernacular.
Material selection has been governed by a desire for the building to age gracefully. It uses a traditional palette of brick, stained black timber, red clay plain tiles and mill finish aluminium, but with a precision, level of detail and constructional techniques appropriate to a 21st Century house rather than a 19th Century agricultural building.
The building was constructed using a timber frame, fabricated off site. This led to a quick construction time but also a dimensional precision that was required for the setting out of the vertical cladding boards that are in two sizes which align through between stories. The first floor cladding boards are half as wide as those on the ground floor, and each board was numbered. Every opening is set out around this module.
The cladding is a rain screen so all the extracts, taps, lights etc. can be concealed behind it. We designed bespoke light fittings within the cladding module which conceal the light source and are shaped to wash the light gently downwards. Also taps, power points etc. are hidden behind lift up panels to maintain the uncluttered, precise nature of the facade.
The narrow aluminium channel that runs horizontally around the perimeter of the building separates the two width of timber and acts as a fixing point for the aluminium brise soleil.
Opening windows and fixed, frameless picture windows dot the façade, orientated to make the most of the expansive views surrounding the building on all sides.
The contemporary interior of the house is finished to a high quality, with numerous bespoke details including a cocktail bar and matching occasional table fabricated from sheets of unlaquered, perforated brass.
An excellent working relationship between the client, contractor and project architect helped to deliver a fantastic product of an extremely high quality.
- LOCATION: Caldecote
- YEAR: Completed in 2019
- CONTRACTOR: Gipping Construction
- THE CLIENTS' VIEW
"Jeremy and his team helped us through a complex planning process, assisted in the sourcing of a main contractor and then assisted throughout the build phase. We cannot speak highly enough of Ashworth Parkes - most importantly, we have a completely wonderful finished product, the 'forever' home that we wanted. It is built to a very high quality, a function of the detail and thought that Jeremy put into every detail, coupled with the excellent relationship he maintained with our main contractor. His eye for detail is outstanding, with so many well thought through design ideas. The daunting thing about building a house is the number of decisions you have to make, and he took so much of that out of our hands, much to our relief. I could go on..."
"Just as importantly perhaps, Jeremy forged a great relationship with us as his clients. We chose him because, having interviewed several architects, and having been let down by one, he more than anyone else, seemed to 'get' what we wanted. Our choice was proven to be correct. It was a big project, the build phase alone taking a year, the planning and design phase beforehand not much less, yet despite that timescale and the endless amounts of engagement, everyone remained cheery and optimistic, and both proud and delighted with the end result."Would we do it all again? Absolutely!
- PHOTO CREDITS: Michele Rossi