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Ström reveals Suffolk house plans

[First look + plans] Emerging practice Ström Architects has unveiled plans for this corten-clad country house in rural Suffolk

The scheme is two miles inland from Aldeburgh and will sit within the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the foundations of a house which burned down eight years ago.

The house will be raised floor 1.5m above the level of the old cottage to combat potential flooding problems.

The AJ understand the Lymington-based studio, which was founded by Magnus Ström last year (see New Practices #35, AJ 16.07.10), was interviewed for the project along with 11 other architects including James Gorst, Ellis Miller, Simon Conder, Brisac Gonzales and John Pardey Architects - Ström’s former practice.

Subject to planning approval, construction work will start on the project in May 2012 and is due to complete the following spring (2013).


The architect’s view

The clients’ brief is for a country house – ‘a dream in a wood’, a peaceful place to relax, regenerate, and think of new ideas.

The existing site with the pool, its ruins and low walls has a very strong presence, and we wanted to keep this as an important part of the site.

The design is linear and has picked up on the building form – the ‘long cottage’ found along Iken Common, and we see the design as an evolution of the longitudinal cottage.

The building sits above the ruins and the edge of the pool, as to respect the current site, but also to deal with the floor level that is required, due to the potential flood risk. The building is also set like this so that it can be read on its own, and thus touch the existing site lightly. The building is orientated towards the west-south-west, and sits on an angle above the existing ruins facing the best views as well as creating a clear juxtaposition of geometry to the ruins.

A two-storey element punctures through the roof, and contain a master bedroom suite at the first floor. This is positioned towards the existing coach house, thus minimising the impact of the building on the more open site to the south. This two storey element is recessed from both the west and east facades as to reduce the scale and the appearance of the building.

The building is entered via a bridge that spans the ruins. This sets up the whole philosophy of the house, even before you actually enter, as well as successfully dealing with safe egress form the house to higher land in case of a flood.


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