The architects faced a challenging brief: to embody the spirit of the English country house in a design which would embrace its context and landscape, while simultaneously providing a carbon neutral response to climate change. Aesthetic ambitions, practical needs and sustainable principles dictated every choice of material and fundamental element, especially the roof.
NO ORDINARY ROOF
Their roofing design involved a combination of shapes and angles that demanded a durable and adaptable roof tile product. After an extensive search comparing suppliers and products, architects James Macdonald Wright and Niall Maxwell agreed on handmade clay roof tiles.
The architects chose traditional tiles for two reasons. Firstly, they liked the natural aesthetic, which is imbued with a distinctive finish and warmth of colour. And secondly, the design made handling and laying a simple and easy process for contractors. The architects were meticulous in their detailing and planning and so were attracted to these specific tiles because of their dedicated and flexible service.
Beyond the impression of sublime craftsmanship and spatial grandeur this house offers, Caring Wood leads us to fundamentally question how we might live together in the future.«
RIBA House of the Year 2017 jury chair, Deborah Saunt
DRIVEN BY DESIGN
The project team worked hard to ensure that nothing was left to chance – every angle and shape was specifically detailed and modelled in advance. It was a very design-led construction – the architects had a site office and were on hand to fix, help, advise and look at all the different details working closely with the contractor Complete Roofing Contractors. The 153,000 tiles added together to create a striking appearance for the country home’s roof. They were gradually delivered throughout each stage of the project and were produced using traditional handmade techniques over a period of a year.
BEAUTIFUL AND SUSTAINABLE
The finished property boasts exceptional sustainability, with both the main house and cottage achieving the best local energy rating. The design of the house and landscaping were jointly considered to contribute to, protect and enhance the local environment.
Caring Wood’s sustainability is addressed through a low energy design and the use of clean green technologies, but also in the application of regional building form, material choices and detailing. Having created the framework for the house and estate, it will now evolve to suit changing family needs, while the material will maintain their performance and aesthetic integrity.
Facts & Figures
Project nameCaring Wood, Kent, United Kingdom
ArchitectJames Macdonald Wright and Niall Maxwell
Keymer County Peg Antique
Year of completion2017