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Miranda Montagu and Sandy Rendel Architects win South Downs house approval

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Architect Miranda Montagu and Sandy Rendel Architects have won planning approval for a ‘substantial’ new country house and gatehouse on an historic estate in the South Downs

Replacing an ‘unremarkable and poorly constructed’ 1930s brick house, the project in West Sussex includes a 674m² main house, a 197m² pool, and an 89m² gatehouse.

Montagu worked on the wider masterplan for the ‘neglected’ and derelict estate, which was bought by the client 12 years ago. 

The home was given consent as a replacement dwelling in the National Park and will feature plum stone masonry wall construction.

Construction is expected to start on site later this year and the scheme will be delived by Invisible Studio Architects.

253 groundfloorplan

253 groundfloorplan

Architect’s view

When the owners acquired their part of the newly divided estate in 2008 it had been neglected for many years and had fallen into dereliction. Architect Miranda Montagu developed the masterplan to reconfigure and rationalise the site and its various buildings, renovating existing structures and designing new ones using timber from the site’s woodland. Over the past decade substantial work has also been undertaken to restore the landscape, nurturing the site back into a coherent and productive estate.

The new house, cottage and associated landscape works will be the final pieces in this jigsaw and will replace an unremarkable and poorly constructed dark red brick vernacular revival building built in the 1930s following a fire in the original 1830s country house, around which the estate was developed.

The design revolves around a new central courtyard on the north side. This links the house directly with the historic elements of the estate, fostering their connections and offering a more domestic scale. Beyond this the language and form aim to provide a focal point for the estate and offer an appropriate presence in the wider landscape without the traditional dominance imposed by a country house.

The narrow band of sandstone on which the site lies defines both the landscape character and local vernacular building materials. The range of types and tones of this stone from different strata, ranging from light grey to buff to green and to the rust-coloured ironstone, are evident in the walls of the existing walled garden and stable block, and are a predominant feature of the local built environment.

The new buildings aim to reflect this character with the use of a bespoke ‘plum stone’ masonry for the external wall construction. This embeds large local Fittleworth Stone boulders in a mix of lime, ground granulated blast furnace slag, crushed local stone aggregate and sand, to provide a robust, sculptural material with minimal cement content. We have undertaken testing of the strength, appearance and finish of this material to ensure its tone and texture would sit comfortably against the sandstone walls of the adjacent retained buildings and wider landscape.

253 sample panel walling

253 sample panel walling

Project data

Location West Sussex
Local Planning Authority The South Downs National Park Authority
Gross internal area 960m² (house 674m², pool 197m², gatehouse 89m²)
Construction cost Undisclosed
Form of contract TBC
Client Confidential
Architects Miranda Montagu Architect and Sandy Rendel Architects
Planning consultant Whaleback
Structural engineer engineersHRW
M&E consultant Inside Out Engineering
Quantity surveyor NT Surveying
Landscape architect Marian Boswall Landscape Architects
Landscape management strategy and visual impact assessment Studio Engleback
Principal design adviser Goddard Consulting

253 northelevation

253 northelevation

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