CDC was appointed in October 2013 to design a new 350m2 house for a private client in Central Cambridge. The available land comprised a large corner plot with extensive views through pine trees over fields beyond, and the key design drivers for this project were to maximise the opportunities for views and daylight whilst respecting the privacy and amenity of neighbours.
The design evolved through several iterations, which were all designed using 3-dimensional computer models and walk-through animations, in order that the client could better understand the potential qualities of space and light. The form of the house became a notional ‘Y’. opening and widening to the garden from the entrance. A central double-height space to the rear forms a spacious kitchen/ dining room, and is designed to shade intense summer sun whilst admitting valuable winter sunshine. A more intimate living area to the rear of the house provides a space for family relaxation, complete with wood-burner. This opens out onto a raised terrace and the garden beyond via large glazed sliding doors.
The house integrates a private courtyard at first floor level, which is shared by a bathroom that can open onto it. All bedrooms include fitted furniture and discrete windows that provide daylight whilst maximising privacy. A glazed study room allows views at high level through the tree canopy; a space for work and contemplation. An external staircase allows direct access to the garden from the first floor.
The house is expressed as a series of dislocated planes of brick, timber and render. The roof is partially landscaped as a ‘green’ roof, and part is used for solar energy collection. Rainwater is proposed to be harvested for re-use, and mechanical ventilation/ heat recovery enhances the performance of a potentially highly air-tight house. The house gained planning permission by respecting the concerns of neighbours, carefully considering inputs from the City Council and Environment Agency, whilst simultaneously responding sensitively to the wider context of its architecture.