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Long House by Dan Brill Architects, Winchester

This house arose from the divergence between the clients’ brief and planning constraints, with the building form mediating between the two

As brave and keen design enthusiasts, the clients had initially aspired to demolish the original house to make way for a spacious, new, modern family home.

On the other hand, Winchester City Council required the uniformity of the anonymous suburban streetscape to be maintained.

After we prepared an initial comparative study of houses within the street, it quickly became evident that, despite a general uniformity, each of the frontages was different at ground level as a result of converted garages and other modifications. Maintaining this variety thus established a sound planning basis for breaking the mould.

There was also a divergence between the clients’ ambitious accommodation schedule and the overall massing that would be acceptable in planning terms.

Following a discussion with the planning case officer, it was agreed early in the design process that a long, low extension avoided a potentially detrimental impact on surrounding properties and made best use of the generous plot width.

Treated as a kind of architectural stage set, only the shell of the original house has been retained as the minimum required to appease planning stipulations. This has been used to accommodate the main open-plan living areas within a single double-height volume, and all other spaces are contained within the new single-storey wing that runs along the length of the site and skewers the original house to form a new porch at the front.

The unusually long corridor, a consequence of the building form, provides access to the bedrooms and study. Careful architectural treatment of this space was critical to the design: a continuous glass roof, a framed view of the garden, a generous width and break-out spaces along its length make the corridor the clients’ favourite space in the house.

Full-height flush-glazed windows and doors along the south elevation provide direct access onto the terrace from each of the bedrooms, and maintain the continuous clean lines of the new wing, clearly distinguishing new from old and further defining the clarity of the concept.

Dan Brill, director, Dan Brill Architects

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