The design brief for Wayside included many facets that were combined to bring the final design together. Whilst the brief was generous to allow design freedom, there were several competing factors to consider.
Crucial to the client, was to maximise the potential the location had to offer, meaning it was important that as much as possible was squeezed from this fairly modest site. As it was to be a replacement property for an existing building, it was essential that it responded to both the parish council’s and planning department’s guidance. For the ARCO2 design team, considering the parish council’s plan for the area was crucial to achieving a symbiotic architectural vision on this property and that the design harmonised in such a prominent position.
Multigenerational Family Living
For the client, this was the opportunity to take a move the short distance from their existing in-land property to a prime sea facing location, where they, and their two children, could use the property during holiday and long weekends and enjoy time with parents and grandparents. To embrace the panoramic coastal views, the client wanted to achieve reverse-level living with three to four bedrooms, whilst providing accommodation for a multigenerational family living. There needed to be a free flow throughout to maintain the feel of a single family home while simultaneously providing private, identified areas of the building for each generation.
As with any project, budget was a consideration and in that sense the property needed to work hard for its money while achieving sustainability wherever possible. Key aspects were that it needed to be at once low maintenance and affordable to live in, while also being future proof for generations to come. Nathan Davis, Director of ARCO2 commented on the multi-generational aspect of the design: “The layout plan was a tricky tessellation of spaces that would fit within the modest site. We concluded that a combined entrance foyer was the best use of floor area to serve two distinct sides of the building. The left-hand portion of the property collects key views of the sea and whilst it’s located only 10 metres or so closer to the beach than the right-hand side, it offers a more intimate and homely scene that was most fitting to create the client’s parent new home.”
“We reduced the ridge line of this side of the building, whilst still giving a nod to the seaward views and respecting the ridge height of the neighbouring property. In design terms, there needed to be a complement of scale between the new property and the established neighbouring property. This side of the property contained a bedroom, ensuite and hobby room at ground floor level, with an open-plan lounge, kitchen and dining space on the first floor. Permeability was carefully considered to enable access to external balconies via large opening elements; it was important to provide a connection from the combined sounds, smell and movement of the coastal location to generate a natural blend that would please the senses and enhance the living experience.”
“A lift and low-rise central staircase was installed to create a convenient and future-proof vertical access through the property, combined with free-flow access to a private rear courtyard and to the soft landscaped area to the west of the property. The family side of Wayside incorporates three bedrooms, a games room at ground floor level with an open-plan kitchen, dining and lounge space to the first floor, leading directly to a garden at the rear of the property.”
One of the most significant hurdles that needed to be overcome with this property was the larger-than-originally-anticipated floor area requirement. Wayside was conceived around the need to embrace a multigenerational abode that prioritised future-proofing living ‘a good life’. ARCO2 worked tirelessly to add layers to the design to enable the size of the building to be concealed within the layers of architecture. This inevitably generated a hugely complex superstructure without a single parallel wall within the design coupled with raking ridge lines and a curved roof.
Working closely with Matt Davis of ADDSC (sister company to ARCO2) Alan Hughes (of ARCO2) was able to generate geo-located digital information to guide Matt and his team on site. This continual flow of information between ARCO2 and ADDSC was the key to completing this bespoke home. In terms of complexity, Wayside is in the top ten properties even though it represents a medium-size project for the company in respect of its scale.
ARCO2 enjoys an extremely dynamic client base that shares their sustainable ethos. This particular client was intrinsically involved throughout the design process ensuring that their bespoke requirements were met and they steered the interior design solutions to fruition on-site directly with Matt.
As a rule ARCO2 and ADDSC seek construction solutions from local resources first. Wayside was constructed through the period of the pandemic which made it trickier to build than usual. The use of local concrete firms, timber mills and all of the workforce (particularly specialist companies) were all locally sourced. Natural stone came from local quarries, external joinery sourced from a Cornish company. Materials such as slate were sourced from Spain to achieve quality, warranty and quantity as required. Local sources of material such as this are difficult to obtain in large quantities within most construction contract lengths.
With a sustainable ethos at the heart of practice and decision making ARCO2 constantly researches the best practice in respect of conserving energy within projects both in terms of its embodied energy and its carbon footprint through its inhabitation. The temperate UK climate compels ARCO2 to carefully conceive solutions that offer the best insulation values (U-Values) that the market can offer (and the project budget can afford). Their ‘go to’ solution in respect to the external joinery is a thermally broken external joinery system utilising triple glazing. The current U-values to achieve building regulation compliance are getting better. However, as a rule, ARCO2 always refers to the Passivhaus standards as minimum insulation values. Various other factors must be considered within the detailing (composition of the build) such as air tightness and cold bridging to ensure that the building’s fabric achieves the lowest ‘heat load’ requirements. All of these and other design factors are combined to ultimately maintain the lowest heat load (heating costs) and thus generate a future-proof housing stock that doesn’t simply create an architecturally pleasing solution to live for (in respect of bills). As such, Wayside was designed as a home for life.
Timeline: the first brief for the project was compiled during October 2018. Design works, coupled with a long planning process, was followed by construction drawings, which took approximately 18 months. The project construction on site, including external works, took a further 18 months, which saw completion of the project on 23rd September 2021.