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Darren Oldfield bags approval for ‘modern woodsman’s cottage’


Emerging practice Darren Oldfield Architects has won approval for this ’modern version of a woodsman’s cottage’ in the Bromley green belt

The three bedroom semi-subterranean home will replace an existing 1970s bungalow on the sloping site close to the village of Hazelwood, near Orpington.

The 235m² Oak Lodge scheme features a larch-clad cabin sat above a dark, knapped flint base and will have photovoltaics, solar hot water and grey water recycling. 

Work is expected to start in summer 2020.

1 straight on

1 straight on

Source: Guy Lockwood

Architect’s view

The client’s parents bought the existing house in the early 1980s and the client has been dreaming of rebuilding it since he was 15.

The site is reached via a long, narrow access road, with an avenue of trees leading towards spectacular views of the Downe Bank Nature Reserve, and the countryside beyond. Unfortunately, the existing 1970s chalet bungalow, garage and associated landscaping completely blocks this rural vista. Our first design decision was to remove obstructions from the view and reinstate the wow-factor upon arriving.

Our first design decision was to remove obstructions from the view and reinstate the wow-factor

The design concept stems from a modern version of a woodsman’s cottage, sitting in a wildflower meadow, with the view beyond. This first floor element houses the entrance hall, and the client’s home office. The house slowly reveals itself as you descend the hill to the left. The larger portion of the house is sunken into the hillside and is predominantly sheltered beneath the wildflower meadow. The wider landscaping scheme is key to the project and will ensure the house is rooted in its surroundings.

The simple linear plan of the lower level splits the accommodation into two wings. A large open plan living space houses kitchen, dining area and living room, situated either side of the large chimney breast. The space is entirely oriented towards the landscape, making the most of the view. The opposing wing has a more cellular layout, with three bedrooms, bathroom and utility accessed off of a central top-lit corridor.

The house is sustainably designed and constructed, with features including solar hot water, PV, water recycling and sustainable building materials such as natural insulations wherever possible.

The chosen material palette is restrained and reflective of the wider South East region. The first floor cabin walls and roof are finished in an open rainscreen larch cladding, and will be left to silver naturally over time. The lower ground is finished in a dark knapped flint cladding, with coloured concrete elements, and metal reveals to the windows. The feature flint chimney stack ties the two floors together.

193ol 104 sections

193ol 104 sections

Project data

Location Hazelwood, Bromley
Type Replacement three-bedroom dwelling
Client Private
Architect Darren Oldfield Architects
Planning consultant Robinson Escott Planning
Start on site Summer 2020
Gross internal area 235m²

193ol 04 side view sketch

193ol 04 side view sketch


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