house 784

stephenson hamilton risley STUDIO as Architects

The house is sited on a tree lined suburban road in Cheshire and was designed for a young family couple. On the road, the house types are suburban; conservative, bland and mock traditional. Our approach was to create a fresh contemporary version of the suburban house type; one that reacts to its context and is tailored to suit the specific needs of

the client.


The client asked us to design a four bedroom contemporary house to house their family. They also asked for a three car garage, and an independent granny flat (this later became adapted to become the children’s playroom.) Of prime concern to the client was the privacy of the living areas and the garden. They were also keen that the internal spaces felt bright and open with rooms flowing into one another; They did not want everything to be visible upon first entering the house, rather that it allowed one to meander through it; discovering places and views as one does so. During the whole design and construction process, the clients were very open to suggestions and permitted us a great deal of design freedom.


When commencing the design, we first looked at how the garden could relate to the internal spaces. To the front of the house, there was a large south facing garden, which in the neighbouring properties was poorly utilised due to its visual exposure to the public road. Our starting point therefore was to create extra screening along the site boundary to allow this area to become a useable private family outdoor space. As the outdoor garden space was now private, we were then able to put the living areas on the ground floor, allowing for direct access from inside to out. The privacy of the gardens also allowed us to create large window openings, providing views into the garden without the need for screening, during the day or night. We designed the house in such a way that rooms did flow into one another, with each room having its own individual relationship with the outside, creating a dramatic spatial sequence.


The actual form of the building is expressed as the meeting of two volumes; the main volume contains the house, whilst the lower stone volume’s wing contains the granny flat and garage. The solid stone block sits aligned with its neighbours whilst the higher rendered block cantilevers over it on the south elevation, creating a dramatic entrance. In a way, the whole design is about the drama of entrance; even as you move through the house the visitor is continuously entering; discovering the drama of each space sequentially.

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