Unsupported browser

For a better experience please update your browser to its latest version.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We use cookies to personalise your experience; learn more in our Privacy and Cookie Policy. You can opt out of some cookies by adjusting your browser settings; see the cookie policy for details. By using this site, you agree to our use of cookies.

Hyde + Hyde wins go-ahead for house inspired by ‘raw magic of water’


Hyde + Hyde Architects has won approval for a new 220m² home in a Somerset village for an ocean-loving client 

The scheme, known as Equipoise House, will replace an existing 1960s home on the site in Kingston St Mary in the foothills of the Quantock Hills.

According to the practice, the house is a ’celebration of the raw magic of water’ and features an exposed-timber triangular lattice roof set above a concrete plinth bordered by ‘two freshwater monolithic lap pools’.

The four-bedroom project features a post-surf outdoor shower, linked to a spa.

Work is expected to start on site next year (2019).



Architect’s view

Equipoise house is a celebration of the hydrological cycle that plays such a visual part of our world, in terms of ocean, cumulus clouds and rain…

A concrete plinth is formed, two freshwater monolithic lap pools span the length of each plinth. An exposed timber triangular lattice roof is placed above the plinth. The spatial volumes of sleeping and living are separated by an entry sequence that maximises the impact of arrival. A single flowering tree is positioned at the centre of the home. A metal roof gathers rainwater and feeds the lap pools either side of the home.

The new dwelling is 83m above sea level at the high end of the site, among dense vegetation and fields in the foothills of the Quantock Hills and has sweeping views south over Taunton and downwards toward the Blackdown Hills.

The position of the new building mimics closely the existing house footprint for planning purposes. However we rotated the building to the cardinal points of the compass; a move that would later become intrinsic to the architectural idea of geometry, balance and cosmological order.

Aht ground floor plan

Aht ground floor plan

It was important to maximise the internal experience of the home by creating a house that was surrounded by large expanses of glass, translating immediately to light. All in aid to absorb the natural environment of the site. It became apparent early on that the landscape with its native plants flowers, shrubs and trees would contribute significantly to the heart of the home.

We also looked at other precedents in architectural history that displayed an equal affinity and love affair with the natural world and means of connecting to it. Traditional Japanese architecture has informed the spirit of the design and the final idea invokes this timeless idea of natural connectivity, shadow play and the concrete reality of human experience.

The house has developed through research as a ‘modus operandi’, a method of operating and functioning in harmony with the ‘genius loci’ of the site. Other themes that have honed the work involve many discussions with our client. Our interpretations of a certain life lived, a deep love for the ocean in business and in life and an ongoing interest in the phenomena of the natural world. This has led us to propose an intrinsic, holistic philosophy of natural wildness that promotes a certain accord with geometric harmony, derived from an authentic and rigours construction logic and an embedded client narrative.

We searched for a meaningful name for the home that aligns with the conceptual narrative. A name that celebrates the themes of the projects thesis. Equipoise house: the term represents equality in distribution, as of weight, relationship, or emotional forces; equilibrium.

The home is an expression and a search for something deeply sensual, both visually and physically

The first move was to elevate the dwelling area off the ground and carve space from this plinth. To position life on a plateau among views.

The home is a  celebration of the raw magic of water: Due to the personal affinity our client has with the ocean we have developed this love affair as the fundamental element that establishes ‘built meaning’ within the work. Metaphorical moats are positioned either side of the newly formed plateau. sinuous lines of exuberance, a symbol of vitality and calm, bringing water into play as a visual celebration of the hydrological cycle. The natural engine that gives life to our world.

A sauna and outdoor shower for post surf is identified in the plan as a heavy grounded element in rammed concrete to complement the hearth of the living space. The meditation core is identified through its materiality as a separate element to the programme of the home. The material and atmospheric quality of this space is one of warmth from exposure, reassurance, solidity.

The space between the shower wall and the spa acts as an outdoor room that flows into the rear plunge and lap pool.

The home is an expression and a search for something deeply sensual, both visually and physically. It attempts to balance a pragmatic, functional outlook with a deeply embedded metaphysical and poetic narrative of natural wildness.

Aht model 03

Aht model 03

Project data

Location Kingston St Mary, Taunton, Somerset
Type of project Residential dwelling
Client Private
Architect Hyde + Hyde Architects
Landscape architect N/A
Planning consultant Savills
Structural engineer kPa Engineers
M&E consultant Max Fordham
Visualisations David Schnabel
Quantity surveyor N/A
Planning supervisor N/A
Lighting consultant Max Fordham
Main contractor To be confirmed
Funding Private
Tender date 2019
Start on site date 2019
Completion date 2020
Contract duration To be confirmed
Gross internal floor area dwelling 220m² carport 68m²
Form of contract IFC
Total cost Undisclosed

Aht 07 p interior living

Aht 07 p interior living


Readers' comments (4)

  • Delicious

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • One of the finest one off houses I have seen on your pages in a long while.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Quite frankly, I have never read such pretentious gobbledygook as that written in the Architect's View.
    When almost indecipherable verbiage is used to justify a building that - to me - diminishes the beautiful location in which it is set, then UK architectural design is in deep, deep trouble.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • CGIFurniture

    Awesome article!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.