Located in the heart of East Suffolk's pristine Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, IF_DO was asked to create a family home that would be in harmony with its idyllic surroundings.
Conceptually, two distinct separate elements ground the house, appearing as solid blocks of stone from which spaces are carved out. Connecting the two blocks is a delicate ground-floor living space, appearing as a simple link from the entrance forecourt elevation and from the rear a large pavilion with seamless access to surrounding terraces and a natural swimming pond.
The massing creates a clear divide between public and private spaces within the house, with a free-flowing and central communal living/dining space at ground floor, bordered by more private sleeping and utilitarian spaces. The first floor is split by a double-height, top-lit star void with slot window over the landscape; a dual-aspect master bedroom to one side focuses on the south-westerly views, with a private terrace; and to the other, an arrangement of bedrooms.
Fluid transitions between inside and out on both floors are created by a series of full-height sliding doors opening on to terraces and balconies. Internal axes through the linking pavilion establish strong connections with the heath/woodland to the front, and the open gardens and specimen trees to the rear.
Working closely with Webb Yates, a holistic design has been conceived to touch lightly on the landscape. The new dwelling is designed to be low in embodied and operation carbon, and completely free of concrete and steel.
A composite limestone and oak structural frame, including feature post-tensioned limestone beams, sits atop crushed rubble footings (incorporating waste from the existing house), with natural clay and lime finishes to internal walls. The design minimises the demand for environmental conditioning through well-considered massing, openings and internal layouts, ensuring spaces benefit from abundant sunlight and are naturally ventilated and passively cooled. Other environmental measures include on-site freshwater supply, and ground-source heat pumps powered by on-site PV electricity generation.
The landscape design is by Thomas Hoblyn, inspired by a special and distinctive character of the local landscape. The planting strategy is informed by an assessment of existing vegetation communities present within the site and its environs, resulting in a full rewilding strategy, biodiversity and wildlife habitat enhancements.
The new house has been designed with the potential for multiple occupation by visiting artists, guests and the client’s wider family.
Planning permission granted