The Watson House – John Pardey Architects
A one hectare site on a rural road between the towns of Brockenhurst and Lymington within the New Forest National Park. The site adjoins woodland to the west and a mock-Tudorbethan house to the east, with open forest and a SSI woodland to the north.
The brief began with the idea of occupying the house for short breaks – a holiday home that is easy to use and with a desire to live in contact with nature that resulted in the idea of a simple linear single-storey form that ‘touches the earth lightly’. The timber structure is slightly lifted off the ground to float across the site in a north-south orientation and within this simple form, a switchback plan provides bedrooms that face east to the rising sun at one end and living spaces that face west to the other, with entrance and service rooms between the two. A transverse wall segregates a gravel court for cars from the garden and living spaces beyond.
Large openings to the living area and bedrooms are deeply recessed to avoid summer solar gains, while allowing low sun and good daylight in winter. A master bedroom suite occupies the northern end of the house beyond a large brick chimney that pins the house to the earth and forms the heart of the house.
The floor, walls and roof of the house are formed in cross-laminated timber panels, externally insulated and clad in open sweet chestnut strips – dark Danish linear bricks that have a similar proportion to the house itself form the chimney and plinth.
The objective was to make an architecture that echoes the character of a ‘rural vernacular’ to make a positive yet discrete impact on the site (both environmentally and physically) in a contemporary twist on a traditional rural narrative.