Snug Architects have won planning permission for the ultimate snug house. The two bedroom detached dwelling, located on the edge of the Winchester Conservation Area, finally won planning permission after 7 planning applications and 3 appeals. It really is an example of how perseverance pays in the end. Despite the obvious frustrations for all involved, there is no doubt that the design improved with each iteration. The end result is a beautiful example of contemporary contextualism and balances respect for context with creative contemporary design.
The site is highly constrained, located on the site of an existing double garage, is in a prominent position within the Conservation Area and is surrounded by homogenous Edwardian properties. It was a real challenge to balance the scale and geometry of the site with that of the context. Tensions between the clients brief and the distinct approaches to building in context held by the Conservation Officer, Case Officer, Design Review Panel and residents, not to mention the appeal inspectors, made for a challenging process. In the end issue by issue we resolved peoples concerns and pre-conceptions and consensus was achieved. The approach taken neither copies nor contrasts with the context. The result was worth the wait and we look forward to moving the project more swiftly to construction.
The design creatively wraps the accommodation around views, garden, terrace and parking. By creating a split level plan and flipping the living room to the first floor we have been able to accommodate a generous 2 bedroom house largely hidden behind a garden wall. Only the bronzed copper clad living room and terrace pop discretley above the wall to enjoy views across the flood plain. The house is full of light and spatially dynamic with a double height entrance hall running through the centre of the house, making visual connections between the inside and outside living areas. The house is a technical as well as a spatial challenge and tested the limits of fabric energy efficiency. The result is that it will be just shy of Code for Sustainable Homes Level 5.
The real test for us of any design is; would we love to live in the houses we design? There is no doubt in our minds that this will be the premier pad in town when it is completed.
You might ask why we would spend a little over 6 years persevering with such a small project. A good question. Well we love the site and always believed a scheme could and should be built here. We also knew that the end result would set an important precedent for the approach to design we believe in. Building in existing much loved contexts is always challenging and it is essential that positive precedents are set. We are passionate about designing in context and seek to proactively pursue locally distinctive character rather than merely preserving the status quo. This is not an easy path but one we believe is essential if our much loved neighbourhoods are to continue to grow and adapt. Quality is always hard won but worth the wait. The final reason is its part of our DNA. As a company we have sought to ensure there is always an element of calculated risk taking in our business plan. We were founded on the basis on an adventure of faith and don’t want to throttle back. For me, my Christian faith hits the road at work, pursuing what we believe matters to us and is often an adventure that takes an element of faith. We have made a conscious choice to press on in this adventure and we are finding that in the end perseverance, in the things you believe in, pays.
Return to posts