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Work starts on Jonathan Ellis-Miller's new family home

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Construction has started on Jonathan Ellis-Miller’s new £400,000 family home in Cambridgeshire - a successor to his original self-built 1991 ‘Case Study’ house at Prickwillow

According to the architect, the 220m² building in West Wratting near Newmarket is a ‘further refinement of the minimalist California-influenced aesthetic’ used on the much-publicised first house which he built while working for the late John Winter.

The new ‘high-ceilinged’ single-storey structure, which was approved by planners just before Christmas, will be a home for Ellis-Miller and his family who will also act as project managers on the scheme.

Ellis-Miller plans to partially self-build the house which features offsite construction and ‘lean, lightweight materials and low-energy technology.’

The architect hopes the scheme will take just seven months to complete.

Ellis Miller, Prospect House [exploded axo]

The architect’s view

‘The rectangular steel-framed single-storey house will ‘hover’ 300mm above ground level, cantilevered 3 metres from an inset grid of 14 columns set on pad foundations. It will be clad in both transparent and insulated opaque glass, appearing as a floating cube in the surrounding agricultural and woodland landscape. The floor and roof frames continue into an open bay to the west, sheltered by retractable awnings. The roof also projects eastwards to provide a car shelter.

‘The Ellis-Miller family will act as project managers and as with the much smaller 1991 house and its 1998 companion house built for Mary Banham, there will be an element of self-build. The family already lives on the three-quarter acre site, in an existing bungalow house on the edge of the village.

‘The new house will be built behind it, whereupon the existing house will be demolished and its site landscaped. Unlike many designs for new rural houses, this one received no objections in the planning process and was approved under delegated powers.

The house received no objections in the planning process

‘The house will develop the ideas of the two 1990s Prickwillow houses, updated with the materials, demands and knowledge of the 21st century. It will capitalize on advances in eco-technologies by using air source heat pumps, PVA cells and passive solar design techniques. In plan it consists of open living/dining spaces and bedrooms on the southern and western sides with a more cellular layout on the north side including utility room, study and guest bedroom. Kitchen and bathrooms occupy the centre of the plan.

‘The landscape design complements the surrounding agricultural landscape and continues a Modernist tradition of contextualizing the clean lines of architecture within a softer planting scheme. The design seeks to retain the long distance views across field.’

Project data

Architect EllisMiller Architects
Location West Wratting, Cambridgeshire
Type of project residential
Structural engineer Elliot Wood
Project architect Jonathan Ellis-Miller
Design team Evelyn Liu, Chris Patience, Louis Scott, Carma Masson, Imane Mellah
Client Jonathan Ellis Miller and Marie-Gabrielle Rotie
Funding Private
Tender date January 2015
Start on site date March 2015
Contract duration September 2015
Gross internal floor area 220m²
Form of contract and/or procurement Contract Management
Total cost £400,000
M&E consultant eb7 and P³r Engineers
Quantity surveyor n/a
Planning supervisor EllisMiller Architects
Lighting consultant n/a
Main contractor Dance Construction

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