After a three year ‘sabbatical’ with Theis and Khan Architects, Nic has re-joined the Practice and is acting as Project Architect on several very smart schemes. Watch this space!
It’s great to see one of our projects featured in TRADA’s latest edition of External Timber Cladding.
The home recording studio, which is in the garden of a Victorian town house in north Oxford, is a steel and timber-framed structure designed to weather down naturally over time against the backdrop of mature trees. It uses Western red cedar, a durable wood that will weather evenly to an attractive silver-grey.
We have used Western Red Cedar on our offices here in Shipston on Stour.
And Martin has included it in the design for his own new house near Edgehill.
Wood is cost-effective, durable and can be manipulated so perfectly to enrich our buildings. Wood so clearly demonstrates the skill of the hands that work it.
We love wood.
So. The initial excitement at being featured in a television programme quickly turned to panic. The nearer it got to the transmission date, the more nervous we became. We were literally on the edge of our seats by the time the programme was broadcast.
For those of you who have been watching ‘Building The Dream’, you’ll know that presenter Charlie Luxton likes to give advice, making his own suggestions on how to improve the house. What could he possibly add to Martin’s design?
The Channel 4 website blurb didn’t help:
‘Josh and Rhian Cooper plan to knock down a 1960s detached house and replace it with a stylish home high on the cliffs overlooking the pretty seaside town of Aberdovey. Charlie thinks he can tweak their plans to make them even better, including changing their master bedroom to make it feel more like a suite rather than a room.’
There was added tension because we’d put the word around that we’d be live tweeting throughout the show. Would our comments degenerate into a list of expletives?
However, Charlie came up with only two suggestions for improvements at the drawing stage. The first was to create a window or opening in the living room wall so that the first thing to be seen on opening the front door was the view. Rhian was later able to point out that the fireplace was in the way. And that on approaching the entrance there was a glimpse of the view through the kitchen window. Once inside, it was only one step from the hall into the kitchen and the full impact of that panoramic view through the huge wall-to-wall glass doors.
His second idea – to remove the door between the main bedroom and dressing area – was a fair one and not difficult to execute nor detrimental to the overall design. Josh and Rhian agreed that it made the whole area lighter.
On an early site visit, Charlie’s first impressions were good:
‘I like the simplicity of it’, he said. ‘There are some nice little details – like the chimney and the engineering blue brick.’
He was envious of the view – and who wouldn’t be? The house was deliberately orientated on the plot so that every window could make the most of the stunning outlook over the Dovey estuary to the sea beyond.
So far so good.
He liked the choice of materials, too: ‘I’m loving the combination of Welsh slate and timber cladding’, he said. ‘Although the house is unashamedly modern, traditional local materials like slate blend in well with the design.’
He thought the curved walls inside worked really well, leading the eye around the corner to the study. In fact, Charlie had lots of positive comments.
On his last visit, to meet Josh and Rhian in their completed home, he summed up:
‘It’s a very simple box shape house, broken up with some very nice materials. It’s a clever little piece of architecture.’
‘I’d be very happy to move in!’
But the final words must go to the client, Josh Cooper: ‘I think we’ve been blessed with a really good architect’.