Alexander Martin Architects has completed a new house for a young family in Claygate, Surrey which reinterprets the surrounding Arts & Crafts aesthetic with a contemporary form. The client sought an innovative response to the site and so the house was rapidly built using modern methods of construction, with simple, robust materials used to create an elegant interior and exterior, redefining the aspirations for suburban architecture.
The new building replaces a smaller 1920s house that previously occupied the sizeable triangular plot, sitting on the bend in the road. The architects were able to take advantage of this shape and have created two pitched volumes that are joined by a double-height central section. The roofline mirrors the neighbouring properties but the selection of a pale buff brick for the outer walls and vertical banding clearly marks this house out from the surrounding context. Large windows bring light into the front and rear of the building, with substantial sliding doors providing access to the garden.
Internally, a monochrome palette was desired by the owners, which has been achieved with exposed concrete floors, a blackened steel staircase, and black veneered joinery to give a strong yet minimalist look. This is then balanced with marble used in the bathrooms and softer interior furnishings. The rich composition of materials presents a timeless quality and therefore a calm backdrop in which to live.
Off-site timber construction was used as the primary means of structure, to ensure a quick build on site. Structural Insulated Panels system (SIPs) were assembled within a minimum of fuss and erected within a matter of weeks. An air-source heat pump is employed to create a much more environmentally friendly form of heating and futureproof the home for the family.
text by Rob Fiehn