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KAST Architects completes cantilevered Cornish house

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Emerging practice KAST Architects has completed a five-bedroom family home on the edge of the village of Feock in Cornwall

The 224m² building has been designed as two distinct elements, with an upper level of living accommodation set at 90 degrees to the lower level bedroom floor.

The main entrance to the house is at the upper level off Pill Lane, from which the site then drops away. A parking area for two cars leads to a bridge, which spans across to the building. The elevations to the parking area and the road are left deliberately blank to maintain privacy and contrast with the glazed elevations to the south-east, which maximise the views down to the creek.

Detail far 5

Detail far 5

Source: Anthony Greenwood Photography

The upper storey contains a kitchen and dining area which has access out to a decked roof terrace, and a living room with extensive views out across the valley.

Bedrooms and bathrooms are on the lower storey, together with a south–facing terrace providing a sheltered outdoor dining space underneath the cantilever.

The lower floor is clad with Trebarwith stone, while the first floor has larch cladding, both materials intended to help blend the house into its site, which is also aided by being shielded by mature trees.

Internal portrait 1

Internal portrait 1

Source: Anthony Greenwood Photography

Architects’ View

KAST was approached by the clients to design their new home in July 2015. At that point the practice was less than a year old and had no completed work to show, so it was a great leap of faith on their part.

The site is blessed with a stunning natural topography, including glimpses down the valley to Pill Creek. We were keen to maximise this potential while also knitting a family house around a number of mature trees, all with protection orders on them.

The cantilever is, in part, a response to the view, nosing the upper floor out over the garden to capture the vista along the valley, but also a reaction to the need to avoid damaging the nearby tree roots. The overhang also creates a variety of different external spaces beneath and around it – sheltered seating areas, shade from the sun, and a suggestion of more private garden areas.

Dusk landscape 2

Dusk landscape 2

The use of local stone on the lower floor helps to ground the design in the landscape, while the lighter, timber cladding on the upper floor is a clear reference to the surrounding trees. Over time the cladding will soften to further allow the building to recess into the landscape.

The project’s success is due primarily to the client’s drive and determination, while we have also been blessed to work with some wonderful designers and contractors, all based within a few miles of the site.

Nicholas James, project director, and David Jones, project architect, KAST Architects

1532 sylvania plans first floor

1532 sylvania plans first floor

Source: KAST Architects

First floor plan

Clients’ view

We bought the plot that Sylvania stands on in Feock about four years ago, after thinking long and hard about whether we should buy a house, or build one. We chose the latter, because of an ambition to build our own house and realise a vision.

Cornwall was already very special to us and we found the environment of Pill Creek magical. Finding a sympathetic, local architect was key, as we wanted to support the local economy and believed a local architect would understand the complexities of building in an area of outstanding beauty.

While researching on the internet, we found KAST. After several phone calls, we decided to meet in Truro, while on holiday down here. We quickly developed a bond and really liked their measured, calm approach. The build then began in earnest in September 2017.

After lots of discussion, a departure from the original design was decided on and a cantilever was suggested. KAST became excited about this as did we, and so Sylvania came to life. We wanted a bold piece of architecture that didn’t shout out, but complemented its beautiful surroundings.

Various designs were discussed, but the house design didn’t become what it is until the V-support was incorporated.

It was a daunting addition, but KAST didn’t express any negativity, as they knew it was something that we very much wanted. It was shortly after this that we decided to completely relocate from London to Cornwall, which has been a life-changing experience.

At every stage KAST have been incredibly supportive and their handling throughout the planning stages was so diplomatic. Their love of great craftsmanship and their passion for Cornish materials shine through every aspect. The relationships that they developed with our contractors was very positive, which made the build a very exciting and rewarding period.

We are not only proud of the amazing achievement Sylvania is, but we are proud to call KAST our friends.

Nita and John Owers

1532 sylvania section aa

1532 sylvania section aa

Source: KAST Architects

Section AA

Project Data

Start on site September 2017
Completion date December 2018
Gross internal floor area 224.1m²
Gross (internal + external) floor area 283m²
Form of contract or procurement route JCT Intermediate Building Contract with Contractor’s Design 2011
Construction cost Undisclosed
Construction cost per m² Undisclosed
Architect KAST Architects
Client Nita and John Owers
Structural engineer Entos Consulting
M&E consultant Simon Annear
Quantity surveyor Ed Crossley Associates
Interior consultant 3idog
Landscape consultant Mei Loci Landscape Architects
CDM co-ordinator KAST Architects
Approved building inspector Stroma Building Control
Main contractor Davey Construction
CAD software used Vectorworks
Annual CO2 emissions 10.71 kg CO2/m²/yr

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