9. PRIVATE HOUSES
Not all the houses here are architecture – a number are building imbued with an architectural quality. Some are contemporary in design, and some are traditional in the use of the double pile plan and the pitch roof. With the exception of two or three of the houses designed for Lower Mill Estate, which share a particular architectural design code, the others are all different, in the sense that all the clients were different. But if there is a link between these house designs, it is in that the common things matter most. As Lethaby points out “Our lives are mainly concerned with common things and the world is really carried on by them. Secondly, the few great exceptional things grew out of the widespread little ones. Thirdly, somehow it is the common things that are poetic”
Designing a house for private clients is a form of team-painting, only we’re the guys holding the paint brushes - it’s not that we don’t have ideas, but like the good detective we are always on the lookout for clues. There is no set source, as such, for each house is about the particular family culture of individual clients, their life style requirements plus the vagaries of the sites – the planning constraints, the topography, the surrounding building character and context etc .
The practice have worked on the renovation and extension of several listed buildings, Georgian, Victoria and modern. The practice have also completed several successful replacement houses within designated Conservation Areas as well as in the Green Belt and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the south east.