Highland House

June 2016
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We were commissioned to design a new country house in a Kentish wood for a mathematician and her designer partner. 

The new house is located between a gently sloping lawn and a large area of private woodland at the edge of a forest.  Our design uses lots of glass, a rigorous grid and wide angle views to allow the house to mediate this transitional space between two classic landscapes: the untameable wood, and the English garden. Similarly, the dwelling itself is organised into two distinct types of space, with a central stair case separating the informal rooms to the South and East from the more formal spaces to the North and West.

Our client’s mathematical bent and our fondness for Miesian rationalism encouraged us to impose a strict planning grid over the three dimensions of the house. The main volume of the building is a stained timber box wrapped in a brick shell on the ground floor. Stainless steel pinstriping marks out the grid, and a second volume encloses the kitchen.

The heavier brick treatment grounds the house and is peeled away to reveal areas of the softer timber box within. 

As a modern building in the green belt area, our journey through the planning process was both complex and rewarding. The apparent simplicity of this design, and the richness of its setting are brought together to create a comfortable, challenging and intriguing new home.