The traditional oast house form has been reimagined by ACME to create a new home within the rolling landscape and apple orchards of Kent.
Bumpers Oast is a 21st century house closely based on the local vernacular houses used to dry hops as part of the beer-brewing process. Five shingle-clad towers rise up a former apple orchard, creating an extremely low-energy contemporary home.
The property has been created for a family that moved to Kent ten years ago and fell in love with the intimacy and idiosyncrasies of living in circular spaces over time.
The proportions of the tower roundels were based on traditional oast geometries, but stand slightly apart from one another; creating views inwards and outwards. Each of the oasts house the more private functions of a home such as bedrooms and bathrooms. The towers between them form a triple-height central space that opens out to the orchard and forms the heart of the house.
Kent-style tiles in six shades have been used to create the exterior skin, slowly fading from dark red at the base to orange in the centre and blue towards the sky. Laying the tiles relied heavily on local craft skills to create smooth transitions from rectangular tiles for the cylinders to increasingly tapering tiles for the cones.
Much of the interior of the roundels is clad in plywood, continuous ply in the cylinders and plywood shingles in the cones. Curved furniture is built into the rooms to make the best use of the space.
The building has a finely-layered transition from open to private. The oasts form open pockets of communal space on the ground floor, shared spaces on the first floor, and secluded treehouse-like retreats on the second floor.
Each of the bedroom spaces are located in a roof cone and arranged over two levels. In the children’s rooms, this creates a play space on the lower level that can later be adapted for study, while the master bedroom is designed with a walk-in wardrobe and en suite bathroom.
The building is highly insulated, and designed to passive- house standards of air-tightness, with the oast cones used to encourage slow air movement and purge ventilation from high level openings during the summer.
The curvatures of each room have necessitated the use of finishes able to deal with that. Plywood has been used extensively as it is easy to curve, while in the bathrooms, mosaic tiles and microcement have been used to accommodate the geometry.