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Hamish & Lyons reveals designs for £1.1m house on artificial lake

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Hamish & Lyons has released the first images of a proposed £1.1 million home for a doctor and artist on an artificial lake near Cirencester

Construction work on the 180m² mainly timber house-on-stilts began in February but has been put on hold due to the coronavirus crisis. 

The three-bedroom house, which features a 1.5m-wide veranda, includes two bathrooms and two art studios with gallery space off the living room. The scheme sits on a 0.6ha plot on the edge of a small Cotswold village with protected woodland to both the north and east.

Known as Blackbird, the house will be clad in charred cedar timber and have black metal rhomboid roof shingles so it ‘appears to recede into the background’.

According to the emerging practice, the design has been developed as ‘a largely prefabricated building system that can be deployed on sites such as lakes, coastal land and flood plains’.

The project follows on from the firm’s recent completion of another flood resistant building Stepping Stone House (pictured bottom).

Work is now expected to complete in early 2021. 

Plan hamish lyons blackbird raised ground floor

Plan hamish lyons blackbird raised ground floor

The architect’s view

The clients, a doctor and an artist, wanted a home that would be large enough to accommodate larger gatherings of family and friends that feels comfortable and appropriate when they are alone. An art studio and music room which can be opened up into one space were specifically requested by the client to allow them to have, more or less, independent spaces in the house.

The house is built directly over a newly dug lake in order to enjoy the calming effects of water and light.  The simplification of form, prioritisation of material detail and a delicate structure aim to create an ethereal architecture.

A key element of the design is the 1.5m-wide verandah, or engawa, which wraps around the entire building creating a series of routes through the building and over the water. Similar to the engawa, in Japanese architecture, it provides a sheltered space from which to view the garden as well as allowing the building to remain open in the rain or sun, while providing flexible ventilation and sightlines.

The verandah is coupled with internal spaces which can be opened up to each other to allow routes around the inside of the house as well, helping to keep the interior flexible and open, especially when occupied by only two people.

It has similarities to the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird but with more humane intentions

The name Blackbird has been adopted as it reflects the sensation of flight embodied by the overhanging, low profile roof and the stilts which lift the house off the landscape. Similarities to the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird but with more humane intentions.

Materials In the same way that a Blackbird’s colouring acts as a camouflage among the trees and vegetation, the dark coloured materials have been chosen so the house appears to recede into the background, allowing the landscape to come to the fore. The Japanese method of Shou-Sugi-ban will be used to char cedar timber boards for use as a sustainable cladding material - the charring protects the timber against the elements and gives a subtle reflective quality whilst also acting as a fire retardant. Black metal rhomboid shingles will cover the roof.

The building has been designed using Passivhaus principles. The carefully composed thermal envelope will achieve high levels of air tightness which allows the use of an efficient MVHR system to be used coupled with renewable energy sources.

After careful assessment of the energy sources available, a water source heat pump was selected to work along side the electrical source from the grid. The water source heat pump allows the lake to act as a heat exchange, reducing the buildings CO2 emissions by up to 45 per cent. Summer solar gain is minimised due to the large roof overhangs while the triple glazing allows for maximum solar gain during the winter.

The embodied carbon is limited as there are minimal foundations and timber is used as the main building material. The steel deck has been designed to be dismantled easily for recycling. Most of the building elements are prefabricated thereby minimising site waste.

H&l 18063 bb environmental performance planning

H&l 18063 bb environmental performance planning

Project data

Location Near Cirencester, Gloucestershire
Type of project Private house
Client Confidential
Architect Hamish & Lyons
Main contractor KJS Construction
Landscape architect FFLO
Structural engineer Momentum
M&E consultant QODA
Quantity surveyor Derek Gough Associates
Architectural visualisation David Schnabel
Funding Private
Start on site date February 2020
Completion date Early 2021
Contract duration 12 months
Gross internal area 180m²
Form of contract Traditional (JCT Intermediate)
Construction Budget £1.1 million (including landscape works)

Jbri 02 12 2016 stepping stone house 24 copy

Stepping Stone House which completed in 2017

Stepping Stone House which completed in 2017


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