Great Doddington House, Northamptonshire

  • one-off houses

The clients brief outlined their requirement for large contemporary dwelling, on a former garden plot lat the heart of the Great Doddington Conservation Area. A strategy of minimal impact was adopted and the proposal required a considered approach to ensure it sat well within the historic context. The intent was to create a dwelling that spoke strongly of its time yet evoked a sympathetic reference to the past, one that avoided the pastiche and allowed a clearly legible local history.

A humble and modest, single storey semi coursed limestone stone clad frontage, with mono pitch zinc roof allowed the existing sense of openness to be retained to the street scene. Carefully considered spacing between the existing and new build property furthered the effect allowing passers by views to the valley beyond. Locating the parking, annex, and sleeping accommodation below street level afforded the minimal street frontage required whilst the steeply sloping site meant that the rear of the property could be two storey with primary living spaces raised to look out onto southern valley views. An a large roof overhang and the upper ground floor terrance provide passive shelter form excessive solar gain whilst affording a large amount of glazing to be incorporated within the rear elevation, in turn maximising views and natural light levels. The large upper ground floor terrace also compensates for the reduced connection between raised living space and main garden and provides external living space with high level views of the surrounding landscape. Pushing primary rooms to the rear and secondary service spaces to the front meant that minimal openings where required in the street frontage which allowed window sizes that where more in keeping with the historic context yet clearly contemporary in proportion. A walk on roof light and light well over over the parking and turning area allowed natural light to the northern aspect of the lower ground floor.

The use of naturally weathering materials, with strong historic links to the local area, will help the proposed harmonise with the its surroundings and further soften over time. A contemporary interpretation in conjunction with careful use and detailing of these historic local materials will allow the appropriate balance between old and new. It is a delicate balance but one that is critical to ensure the success of such a house on its heavily constrained yet beautiful site. The dwelling is currently under construction and is due for completion in summer 2012 at which point it will become our clients long standing family home.