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Eldridge Smerin's country classic

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Eldridge Smerin Architects has won planning permission for this PPG 7 country house outside Staplehurst in Kent.

The 1,000m 2project - part of the Iden Croft Herbs nursery - will form part of a wider masterplanning project that includes the refurbishment of a series of historic buildings on the site.

In line with the country house clause within PPG 7, the practice is working with Jinny Blom Landscape Design to restore the surrounding landscape - originally created in the 19th century by Henry Hoare.

The house, which is located next to an existing raised reservoir, will be elevated to the same level on a series of pilotis to allow the landscape to continue underneath.

The concrete structure is also designed to achieve a high level of sustainability. Its massing aims to reduce the building's energy consumption - keeping it warm in winter and cool in summer - and the roof has also been planted by the neighbouring nursery. Photovoltaic panels, wastewater recycling and natural ventilation are also utilised in the design.

The CABE-backed scheme was highly praised by Maidstone council's planning department. The committee commended the sympathetic integration of the Modernist design - 'representative of our time' - into the original landscape of the estate and the rationalisation of the later additions.

The project designs are currently under further development and construction is expected to start next year.

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