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Hurst House by John Pardey Architects with Ström Architects

[5 houses by 5 practices] John Pardey Architects with Ström Architects: Hurst House, Bourne End, Buckinghamshire

The Hurst House is a new build one-off contemporary home on the edge of the village of Bourne End, Buckinghamshire. The site forms part of a garden of a substantial house that faces the open fields of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding National Beauty (AONB).

The clients’ brief was to build a sustainable family home that would have the flexibility to adapt to changing family conditions as their children grow up and leave the nest. This lead to a house where they can live in one extended space while bedrooms can be shut down and left on tick-over.

A rectangular masonry volume on the ground floor contains bedrooms, and is slightly sunken into the ground to reduce the height of the building towards the AONB. A lightweight steel and timber volume at the first floor is set perpendicular to the ground floor volume and contains living, kitchen and dining spaces, as well as the master bedroom suite.

It rests on top of the ground floor volume and spans across to a masonry wall that defines the southern edge of the house. A rectangular service element underneath the first floor sleeve - separated by a clerestory - defines an entrance lobby with vertical circulation to one side and a carport to the other.

This arrangement allows for a self-contained bedroom wing that opens up to a south-facing courtyard, while the first floor volume allows living spaces and master bedroom to make the most of the views towards the Chilterns.

A balcony along the length of the first floor allows the facade to open up, and the recessed floor-to-ceiling glazed sliding panels to be shaded in the summer.

The environmental impact of the house was considered from the outset, and we were aiming to get very close to being a zero carbon home. The building has very high levels of insulation. A small, highly efficient gas condensing boiler, together with heat recovery ventilation, rainwater recycling, solar water heating, a 10kW wood burner and a 9.9kWp photovoltaic installation, and low-energy fittings throughout, ensure the property has an overall near zero CO2 impact rating (exact performance yet to be confirmed). Since the building was connected to services, it has generated 25 per cent more electricity than has been used.

The detailed design package was carried out by former employee, Magnus Ström. This collaboration ensured continuity and has resulted in a strong design detailed with great care. The house was project managed by the client and finished to an extraordinary quality.

We employed high quality natural materials that enhance and harmonise with the site; local Weston Underwood coursed stone to ground floor walls, and the upper floor element is clad in British sweet chestnut, which weathers to a natural silver colour and will last for many centuries without further maintenance. To the garden side, panels of pre-weathered zinc have been set within the timber sleeve. These materials all blend harmoniously with the site and its surroundings.

John Pardy, director, John Pardy Architects

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