Baca Architects has been given the go-ahead for a flood-proof ‘country house clause’ family home in the Thames estuary
The house in Maylandsea, Essex, was approved under Paragraph 55 of the National Planning Policy Framework – an exemption allowing new-build homes in the open countryside under ‘special circumstances’.
The 250m² ark-like house features an elevated first floor, a protective bund wall surrounding a ‘manicured garden’ and an automated barrier to defend the entrance and garage from flood water.
Baca founder Richard Coutts said: ‘The house will act as a flood-proof exemplar in an area that is prone to flooding, and will raise the standards locally for well-designed low-energy architecture together with an exemplary standard of domestic-scale renewable energy production.
’While an innovative solution to flooding, this building will also be a thing of beauty. The decorative screens inspired by the salt marshes will emulate the magical qualities of caustics that will dance across the internal ceilings and walls.’
Work is expected to start on site in September.
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The architect’s view
The building design takes its inspiration from coastal references such as fortified boathouses, sea walls and the coastal landscape. The proposal is to rebuild the residential property previously on the site, replacing it with a flood-resilient property with the primary living areas elevated to first floor level, offering panoramic views of the surrounding Blackwater Estuary. This is above the 1 in a 1,000 years flood level plus climate change allowance plus freeboard, providing a ‘safe haven’ for occupants and neighbours during a flood event.
Wrapping around this structure at ground level, will be a garden wall, which both creates a courtyard garden plus a flood defence to protect the private garden, entrance and garage from a 1 in 100-year flood event. The large cantilevered floorplate gives the impression that the building appears to float in the landscape above the flood-resilient garden.
The design aspires to meet the Passivhaus Standard for the occupied portion of the house, incorporating the principles of good insulation, minimising thermal bridging, increasing thermal mass, excellent air tightness and using mechanical ventilation and heat recovery. Photovoltaic solar slates on the roof will generate enough electricity to meet the energy demand of the building’s occupants.
188  v kitchen
Location Maylandsea, Essex
Type of project Flood-proof family dwelling approved under NPPF Paragraph 55
Architect Baca Architects
Landscape architect Open Spaces
Structural engineer StructureHaus
M&E consultant Kaizenge
Main contractor Contractor Self Build - ID Corcoran
Start on site date 4 September 2017
Completion date To be confirmed
Contract duration 12-18 months
Gross internal floor area 250m²
Form of contract and/or procurement JCT Design and Build Contract 2016 (JCTDB16). Traditional procurement route during RIBA Stage 1-3 with Baca Architects acting as project lead
Total cost Confidential