A country home designed not only to preserve energy, but also the history of a prominent local site, widely visible from the surrounding Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Originally a farm-workers’ dwelling, Incline Cottage is one of the oldest buildings in a hamlet outside Henley on Thames and has been home to our Clients, a family with three young children, since 2016. Our brief was to create a large, low-energy home with a modest budget, options ranging from extension to demolition of all existing buildings.
Historical analysis revealed there were three parts to the original dwelling – cottage, stables and coach house. The cottage remains largely unaltered but the stables and coach house were extensively altered during the 1960s and 1990s, compromising their layout, appearance and structure and making them unsuitable for further adaptation.
Instead of the wasteful demolition of all buildings and erasure of the site’s history, we suggested removing only the former stables and coach house and proposed new energy-efficient designs to sit alongside the original cottage.
The cottage is a major driver of the new architecture: Two new cottages to sit alongside the original, restoring the historic three-part composition. The plan, proportions, massing and eaves lines of the new cottages are directly related to the original, with the new roofscape, pattern of fenestration and detailing also being derived from the historic counterpart.
Retention of the cottage helps minimise embodied energy in the new home, as will lightweight, largely timber, construction with minimal concrete foundations using a recycled cement mix. A ground source heat pump will provide all heating and hot water for the house and a photovoltaic array will balance electricity used by the house and heat pump. The building will be super-insulated, have triple glazed windows and doors and a generous roof overhang will eliminate excess solar gain.
” We hired Fred because we needed an architect with a great eye for design and proven capability to deliver complex projects to brief and budget. He is on course to deliver both, but has also been a delight to work with and has charmed all the third parties you need to work with to get projects like ours completed smoothly- a valuable skill. ”