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Guy Hollaway gets go-ahead for 'hygge'-inspired country house

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Guy Hollaway Architects has won approval for Haneton, a ’country house clause’ home in the Kent Downs designed around ’hygge’, the in-vogue Danish concept of cosy living

The practice relied on paragraph 79 of the revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), a clause that allows new-build homes to be constructed in open countryside under special circumstances.

According to the firm, the design for the charred timber-clad buildings was driven by the Scandinavian concept of hygge, which focuses on ’health, wellness and conviviality’ to create a ’balanced life attuned to and in sympathy with nature’.

Once occupied by a medieval manor house, the undisclosed plot for the farmstead-like scheme is described as an ’ancient rural setting that has been inhabited almost continuously for the past 1,000 years’.

Alex Richards, a partner at Guy Hollaway Architects, said: ’Building on the unique history of the site, this project achieves a subtle architectural intervention in a sensitive landscape and shows that Paragraph 79 houses don’t necessarily have to be big.

’It accommodates the needs of a modern family, harnessing all of its energy from the surrounding landscape. As long as there is rain and sun, this house will work, quietly enhancing its extraordinary location.’

Work is expected to start on site next April and to be completed in 2021.

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Architect’s view

Haneton, named after the original medieval manor on the site, will be the realisation of the client’s long-held family ambition to reoccupy the heart of their 80-acre farm, a unique, ancient rural setting that has been inhabited almost continuously for the past 1,000 years.

Our concept takes its cue from the traditional farmstead – distinct buildings arranged around a common courtyard. Here, two simple parallel, charred timber-clad buildings form a central courtyard and primary living quarters. A two-storey conical building formed of rammed earth punctuates the orthogonal arrangement to create a hygge suite; the metaphorical and actual hearth of the home, with a fire pit and sunken bath on the first floor, expressed through the ceiling of the floor below.

Designed as a home for flexible living, Haneton features distinct spaces to support multigenerational living. An existing 19th century stable block is retained and restored, without its roof, to create an external living room and there are areas to grow seasonal produce, large communal spaces for socialising and tangible connections with the surrounding landscape designed to foster a strong sense of care and stewardship.

The Scandinavian concept of hygge, signifying health, wellness and conviviality, has been a driver for the evolution of the design with an emphasis on a balanced life attuned to, and in sympathy with, nature.

Buildings are orientated to maximise views of the landscape, and play to the particular light conditions of various times of day and seasons, as well as maximise building efficiencies with regard to heating and lighting. Adjacent forest wood is used to heat and power the house, with a cyclical approach to forest maintenance and renewable energy sources.

In order to meet the stringent requirements of a Paragraph 79 consent, we have demonstrated an ambitious approach to landscape, creating a building that is absolutely of its place, drawing inspiration from and celebrating its rich and evocative surrounding landscape.

Working closely with landscape architects Growth Industry and expert landscape and visual impact assessment consult Michelle Bolger, we’ve developed a holistic, landscape-led approach, ensuring that the surrounding landscape is not only safeguarded, but enhanced.

Haneton will demonstrate how the re-occupation of rural sites can support the active conservation and management of historically and ecologically sensitive landscapes for the benefit of future generations.

Guy hollaway country house kent downs collage

Guy hollaway country huse kent downs collage

Before (left); Proposed (right)

Project data

Location Kent Downs
Type of project Paragraph 79 house
Client Private
Architect Guy Hollaway Architects
Landscape architect Guy Hollaway Architects with Growth Industry
Planning consultant Hobbs Parker
M&E consultant Mesh Energy
Funding Private
Total cost Undisclosed
Start on site April 2020
Completion Summer 2021
Form of contract and/or procurement: Traditional

 

 

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