A Contemporary, Unique and Innovative environmentally friendly detached family dwelling of c. 9,000 sq ft in Alderley Edge, Cheshire
Having reviewed the site context and topography as well as the Landscape Visual and Impact Assessment, it was felt that the proposed dwelling should become an inherent, rooted part of the site, working with the substantial level changes rather than a traditional dwelling sitting on top of the topography.
The initial concept sketches sought to create a courtyard arrangement with a central private amenity space. The designs evolved into a courtyard arrangement with one and a half sections being a landscaped element rather than building. This had the benefit of reducing circulation space, overlooking within the dwelling and the height of the surrounding mounds.
The driving forces behind the orientation and siting of the dwelling were maximising natural daylighting whilst reducing actual or perceived overlooking. The nearest dwellings are around 70m away from the centre of the site and are generally screened in any case by the substantial and mature boundary treatment. Nevertheless remodelling of the topography and additional planting has been introduced to provide a dwelling that is both contextual but also not seen from out site of the site. It was also felt important that the existing views and vistas through the site were retained, so for example, the mound height and maximum height of the building when viewed from the pavement opposite the entrance, do not project past the existing eye line.
Internally, the dwelling has been orientated with the main living spaces benefitting from being south facing although run generally in parallel to the northern boundary. The ancillary spaces, such as the circulation, leisure complex and servicing spaces are located to the outer line of the dwelling and due to the topography are buried within the topography. Substantial roof lights, provide adequate daylighting to these spaces.
The bedroom wing is orientated on a North – South line and angled at more than ninety degrees to the main living room so that the bedroom spaces retain privacy from the living spaces, whilst giving access to the external spaces.
As the dwelling has long thin proportion, it was felt that the circulation space needed to be broken up and provided with interest. A large central space, featuring a feature tree or sculpture initially provides a focal point and sign from the main entrance, whilst also in effect reducing the length of the circulation space behind. This central feature sits at the intersection between the main living spaces and entrance to the leisure complex. A hidden door limits access to the more private, bedroom accommodation beyond. Along the bedroom wing corridor a level landing is provided at the entrance to pairs of bedrooms. At this point, the corridor also increases in width, with an off centre roof light illuminating the recess where further sculptures or wall art will be located, making the corridor a feature in itself rather than just a place to pass through.
The Master Bedroom suite is located at the end of the bedroom wing, which provides the most privacy from the living spaces, but also provides a better vista over the courtyard.
The main entrance to the dwelling, also has a bank of earth providing screening to the Golf Course, with the parking area banking providing screening to Brook Lane. It is proposed that the main entrance to the house should reflect both the constructed form beyond, but also the surrounding natural forms and features. The entrance is designed to be a simple gateway, appearing from the landscape as people walk around the parking banking. The majority of the entrance elevation is to be mirrored glass which will reflect the surrounding mature landscape and further help to blur the lines between natural landscape and constructed dwelling. A central solid door and a perpendicular path prevents reflection of anyone walking up the path as well as providing privacy for the dwelling internally.
Around half of the remaining elevations are built into the landscape, with only roof lights visible from above. The landscaping is intended to envelope the majority of the building, with only the Courtyard elevations visible only to the occupants of the dwelling.