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Office S&M wins planning for blue timber-clad house in Reading

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Office S&M has won planning permission to replace a bungalow with a new family home in Reading 

The London-based practice has designed a 125m² two-storey XCK House on a corner site in the town’s suburb of Tilehurst.

The three-bedroom house will replace a bungalow known as ‘the blue house’, which has been the family home for four generations, and will improve its connection to its prize-winning garden.

The new house will also be painted in blue slatted timber cladding, the original colour of the bungalow.

Work is expected to start on site in March 2019.

32 West Elevation

32 West Elevation

Architect’s statement

Taking inspiration from 18th-century English gardens, solid block walls are used to frame and carve into the existing garden landscape, forming a ground-floor plinth to support the bedrooms above. The walls push out into the landscape, framing different parts of the garden. Rubble from the demolished bungalow will be recycled to form parts of the new landscape forming a connection between the new home and its past.

The existing bungalow was once locally known as the ‘blue house’ due to its recognisable blue rendered walls painted and maintained by the client’s grandfather. The new family home will also be painted in blue slatted timber cladding.

The proposed contrasting materials are intended to reflect the rich diversity of materials and craft from the local area. On top of an exposed horizontal block work garden wall, sit the living spaces, built out of lightweight timber framework and vertical slatted timber cladding. Following similar banding lines and material patterns, the proposal highlights the changing levels of the sloping landscape.

Inside the ground-floor plinth are a spacious kitchen and dining space, playroom and a large workshop. The workshop at the front of the house allows space for the clients to pursue their passion for restoring old cars. Internal windows provide peepholes for the children to observe and learn about the process of dismantling and rebuilding these machines.

A central double-height space provides views across the plan and a vertical play space, with a climbing wall and hanging nets for the children to enjoy. Rising up from the plinth are three bedrooms and a family bathroom, each with views of a different part of the garden.

XCK House Front View Zoom

XCK House Front View Zoom

Project data

Location Reading
Type of project New-build family house 
Client Private 
Architect Office S&M
Start on site date Estimated to start in March 2019 
Completion date Estimated September 2019 
Gross internal floor area 125m²

  • 1 Comment

Readers' comments (1)

  • And 'XCK' means? - anything to do with apparently sporting some blue 'slatted' roofs? And S & M stands for?
    Presumably a member of the Royal Institute of British Acronyms.

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