Zinc House is a project designed by OB Architecture. We were given the kind of brief most young aspiring practices dream of: to design a contemporary house in a wonderful location overlooking the sea.
The twist here was that the house had to be highly accessible whilst avoiding the ‘institutionalised’ feel that many homes for people with impaired mobility occasionally suffer from.
The site presented us with a few challenges. First of all, it was set between 2 traditional, low lying thatched cottages identified as being of architectural significance. Secondly, the views out to sea were only achievable at first floor level, and thirdly, the front, less-private side to the plot faced south meaning there would be a conflict between the road and the proposed garden that would front onto it.
We developed a concept of 4 interlocking forms that would give the accommodation required, whilst respecting the scale of the cottages either side and the views they provided to the village. We proposed a long linear timber clad form at first floor, set above a light weight glazed section below, and a white rendered wing to the side with a projecting garage at the end to create a welcoming entrance courtyard. The composition is ‘anchored’ to the site by a double height entrance hall that is clad on the outside in dark grey zinc.
The walls were heavily insulated and sealed to create a highly efficient super structure. An air source heat pump provides the heating and hot water and a mechanical ventilation and heat recovery system throughout the house recovers the heat from the kitchen and bathrooms to provide warm fresh air in the winter months.
The extensive areas of glazing give a constant reminder of the dramatic and ever changing weather in this exposed location: the dappled sunlight breaks through the trees into the kitchen in the morning; the rain showers down on the large rooflights over the dining area during the day; and the sun sets over the sea in the evening, filling the living area with an orange glow captured by the large framed window to the west.
Photography by Martin Gardner