The HA-HA House has given us an opportunity to once again explore the siting of a building volume within a wider rural/agricultural landscape where our clients have provided us with a very exciting brief for a contemporary house, as well as an art studio.
The existing site has stunning views and is bounded by a slightly broken ‘ha-ha’ as the edge to agricultural fields to the north, and the village playing fields to the east and south-east. The western, and southern boundary is shared with neighbouring dwellings. The design seeks to play on the two different boundary conditions that exist; the ‘sub-urban’ towards the neighbouring dwellings, and the ‘agricultural’ towards the fields, as well as making the most of the views.
We have proposed to divide the various parts of the brief into volumes and place these volumes on the site so as to create clearly legible site boundaries. We’ve pushed the volumes out to the edges of the site where they will appear to rise out of the overhauled, existing ha-ha. This maximises the opportunity for a series of landscaped open ‘courtyards’ in the centre of the site whilst defining clearly legible edges between the domestic garden and the landscape beyond.
The combination of volumes, ha-ha, garden walls and hedges, create a number of zones, or courtyards, within the site, that in turn define a sequence of spaces and thresholds that primarily build up a sense of ‘drama’ as you move through the entrance/parking courtyard, through into the site with the courtyards landscaped to provide different functions. But these courtyards also help build up a sense and hierarchy of privacy within the site and helps frame views of the landscape beyond whilst the ha-ha will maintain a sense of openness to the fields.
Our proposals are for a new, super-insulated and environmentally conscious home with integrated solar panels and heat recovery systems, building on the passivehouse principles.
The proposals seek to combine a series of materials including dark grey coloured render, stone and timber to define as well as integrate the different volumes within the site. It is important that the buildings appear to rise from the re-instated ha-ha, which would be achieved through defining these in a random rubble stone with an open/dry joint. It is then proposed to play on patterns, textures and processes found in the textile industry to create a unique home for the textile artist client.
For example, we’re proposing to create a double height space above the main living areas, sub-divided in section at high level to create ‘hanging panels’ that emulate the highly advanced pre-digitalisation process of pattern-making. These panels give the client additional wall space for the display of art works. We’re also looking at defining this volume on the outside in a narrow, vertical timber boarding to emulate weaving processes and the texture created by the thread. This would be mirrored on the courtyard elevation of the studio volume to create a conversation between the building volumes across the courtyard.