Ideally, an architect should be free to design a project however they see fit in order to offer their clients the best experience, without being constrained by planning restrictions and other factors. But that isn’t always an option. Ström Architects were confronted with this challenge in 2015 when they dealt with a project in New Forest District, in the UK.
The house is mainly used as a holiday home but it could one day serve as a permanent residenceA timber frame finished in larch cladding gives the house a very inviting look
The architects are invested in each of their projects. Their approach is not a superficial one but rather one inspired by the basics of human life and nature. The house they designed here occupies an area of 194 square meters and serves mainly as a holiday home. The biggest challenge for the architects was finding a way to deal with all the strict planning issues. There were size restrictions which had to be taken into consideration and which didn’t allow the house to have any overhangs because that would have meant less usable floor space.
The frame has large gaps which have become floor-to-ceiling windowsThe large openings help establish a strong connection between the interior spaces and the landscape
All of these restrictions pretty much dictated the overall footprint of the house as well as its position on the site. In addition to that, a conservatory space had to be included in the design and that became a challenge of its own. Looking at the completed project, none of these restrictions are visible and there are no visible details that suggest any compromises.
The house has access to a lovely garden with trees, shrubs and grass, a lovely oasisThe transition between the indoor spaces and outdoor terraces is seamless and smooth thanks to certain design features
In spite of all the challenges, the project was a big success. The house is a wonderful holiday retreat, beautifully connected to the its surroundings and in sync with nature and the views. Its timber frame features a series of huge gaps which serve as full-height windows that connect the internal spaces to the garden and the outdoors. The house was also built on a platform which forms a terrace to the South as well as to the East. It’s connected to the interior spaces by sliding glass doors. The exterior is finished in larch cladding which weathers beautifully over time, gaining a silver gray patina.
The views are maximized by the large windows and the strong connection with the outdoorsThe kitchen has a double-height ceiling which lets more light in
Inside there’s an open space which includes the kitchen, dining and living areas. A fireplace and a concrete hearth with built-in seating ensure a warm and very comfortable ambiance. The fact that there’s no difference of height between the indoor living spaces and the outdoor terraces allows the transition between these spaces to be smooth and seamless.
The social space include the kitchen, dining and living spaces