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WG+P unwraps low-cost timber-clad home

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Waind Gohil + Potter Architects has completed this four-bedroom house in Oxford

PROJECT DATA • PLANS • SECTION • ARCHITECT’S VIEW

The West London-based practice’s 230m2 scheme has been built on a brownfield site which was both contaminated and in a flood risk zone. 

The project features large expanses of glazing which bring in natural light and provide views of the garden.

The timber-framed house was completed for just £1,333 per m² which the architects put down to establishing the construction process early on, the timber frame, bespoke details and prefabrication.

Elmthorpe by WG+P

Elmthorpe by WG+P

Ground floor plan

Elmthorpe by WG+P

Elmthorpe by WG+P

First floor plan

Elmthorpe by WG+P

Elmthorpe by WG+P

Second floor plan

Elmthorpe by WG+P

Elmthorpe by WG+P

Section

Elmthorpe by WG+P

Elmthorpe by WG+P

Architect’s view

The form takes that of a traditional gable fronted house, however the aesthetic is a consciously modern reinterpretation of local vernacular housing stock. The extensive use of timber as structure and surface finish evokes a softer vernacular style, whilst being efficiently used in a striking modern building. Surface materials comprise a mixture of rough sawn oak, machined oak and untreated cement particle board (for economy) to acknowledge the mixing of modern and traditional styles.

We discussed important factors in meeting the budget - the use of a timber frame system, in conjunction with bespoke detailing, secured the cost, programme and logistical benefits of timber prefabrication, alongside the striking aesthetics of onsite craftsmanship. Indeed we discussed that an important part of achieving the budget was establishing the construction process at an early stage (ie before planning) and designing the house, spans, and floor to ceiling heights to meet the requirements of the timber frame system, to avoid the requirement for steelwork. The floor to ceiling heights at Elmthorpe are sized to the material dimensions of OSB board (2,400mm).

Also, it is important to have a great client, that is open to specifications such as cement particle board. The interior materials and detailing are kept deliberately restrained and simple for economy and durability. Surface applied skirtings and oak framed stair balustrades were purposefully selected over shadow gaps and frameless glass for the real term economy and functionality of homely family spaces.

Elmthorpe by WG+P

Elmthorpe by WG+P

Project data 

Location Oxford 
Type of project house 
Client private
Architect WG+P  
Landscape architect Angus Thompson Design
Structural engineer Webb Yates Structural Engineers
Main contractor Hutchins & Green
Appointment friends
Start on site date June 2014
Completion date August 2015
Contract duration 14 months
Gross internal floor area 230m2
Form of contract and/or procurement JCT minor works
Total cost £320,000
Cost per m2 £1,333/m2

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  • 2 Comments

Readers' comments (2)

  • Now all we need is several hundred thousand of these (with some smaller variations on the theme) rolled out on predominantly brownfield sites every year - starting in London, with clear provisions to avoid abuse of affordability.

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  • There is a lot to like about this house and its layout. The greatest achievement though is building it for the stated price in an area like Oxford, where tenders can easily exceed twice the £per sq m rate achieved here (for designs that are arguably nondescript).

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