Leading with the Landscape

Leading with the Landscape

Classic Architecture discusses the stunning Cloud House, an impressive design that emerged from the restrictions of local planning policy.

The Cloud House is an inspirational concept that sprung from a planning policy requirement stating that new houses built in the countryside should reflect typical buildings within the landscape. The house replaced a small bungalow and a group of farm buildings; generally opportunities for building new houses are restricted to converting an existing barn or replacing an existing house – in this case with a limit of no more than a 50% increase. However, our clients were more ambitious and wanted a 5400 square foot house, more than double the size of the original bungalow.

The answer lay in the policy that said that an exceptionally larger house could be acceptable if the design was appropriate to its landscape setting. The planning officers were quite specific and advised us that a large Georgian type would not be accepted. Thus the concept was born: to form the house from linked separate buildings that would sit comfortably in their setting as they would appear as a typical group of farm or agricultural buildings. Typical of the chalk down land setting this could include a grain silo and Dutch barn shaped buildings. Also typical that the group could include examples of different periods, and in our group we have an element that appears as an historic barn. It was this concept that secured us the planning permission.

In design terms it also presented us with some challenges but brought an exciting mix of materials that properly represents each type of building that formed the group. From distant views it succeeds and appears as an isolated farm stead but up close within the site it is a mix of contemporary, with lots of glass, copper, and stainless steel, and the traditional buttressed brick with a handmade tiled roof of an historic barn.

The different elements are linked by frameless structures that are designed to maintain the appearance of separation but connect each part. The scale of barns and farm buildings is large compared to houses, which is a bonus that gave us tall internal spaces that we exploited to make exciting double height rooms. We used frameless glass for the internal subdivision that helped preserve the openness and large areas of external glass the rooms enjoy far views of the landscape.

The inventiveness of the design has not only been a triumph over, but as a result, of the restrictions of planning policy.


Supplier List:

 Roof tiles where by Tudor laid by G M Spicer roofing 01747851313

Frameless glazing was by Saper glass

Copper/zinc roof by Pace roofing

Bricks by York handmade and where ‘Old Clamp Blend’