AEDAS ESCAPES TO THE COUNTRY
The name Aedas Architects usually conjures up thoughts of a heavyweight practice - the world's fourth largest, in fact - creating buildings of great magnitude.
A one-off country house, built under Planning Policy Statement (PPS) 7 guidance, located alongside buildings designed by Arts and Crafts master C F A Voysey, does not appear to be typical Aedas fare.
The architectural behemoth has been handed an unusual commission to design a new country house set in the Malvern Hills in Herefordshire.
According to the practice, it was the chance to work on such a 'different' scheme that proved irresistible. Project architect Dan Barnes said: 'I'm from Malvern and helped to survey the listed buildings some time ago. The owners of the land, Mr and Mrs Claffey, approached me to design their new house, and the practice was very keen.
'There are obviously the architectural benefits of working on a smaller scheme.
If people think of Aedas they usually think of bigger buildings, so this was a welcome change.
'It also gave us a great chance to research how environmental features work on smaller scales, to see if we could bring anything to our larger developments, ' Barnes added.
Under PPS7 legislation, planning consent may be granted for the occasional oneoff country house, providing it reects 'the highest standards of contemporary architecture' and offers a 'significant enhancement' of the surrounding setting.
Aedas believes its scheme, Claffey House, achieves this by avoiding any pastiche of the listed buildings surrounding it - the house is a stone's throw away from one of Voysey's listed buildings on the Perrycroft Lodge Estate.
Instead the practice's design responds to its context. Using a stone base, the 900m 2 house is set into the landscape allowing for panoramic views.
Claffey House will replace existing sheds and stables, and will be arranged over two storeys, keeping it in line with the listed houses nearby.
According to Aedas, the building's design 'echoes' Voysey's tendency towards 'linear emphasis and banded windows, ' while incorporating a contemporary edge with its glazed entrance and oor-toceiling windows.
The scheme has triple glazing, making the building 'super insulated', while overhanging eaves provide shading from the sun, enabling the house to use solar gain and regulate temperatures throughout the day.
A ground-source heat pump will provide the house's primary means of heating, and will also supply pre-warmed water through a boiler when needed.
Should the scheme be granted planning permission, it is hoped work will start on site next March, and Aedas expects the scheme to complete in spring 2009.