Built on the edge of the River Alde in Suffolk, Broombank is a new build house designed by SOUP Architects on a designated site of ‘Outstanding Natural Beauty’.
The building is set into the banks of the sloped site and accessed via a single-track lane that arrives into a sunken entrance courtyard, offering glimpses of the views beyond. The oak lined entrance space set behind the ground floor pale grey brick façade, is continued through the house to the informal, angular living areas that open out into the expansive marshland landscape to the south.
Large, sliding glass doors allow the surrounding landscape to be ever present throughout the house and carefully positioned rooflights allow day/sunlight to fill the spaces throughout the day. The use of naturally finished oak panels, power floated white concrete floors internally is complimented by the continuation of the handmade Petersen bricks from outside and the injection of small amounts of vibrant colour to the kitchen and bathrooms give the project a strong material richness.
The thermal mass of the concrete floors, masonry walls built into the earth bank and highly insulated sedum roofs help to maintain an excellent ambient internal temperature. An integrated MVHR heat recovery system ensures the demand for internal space heating is kept to a minimum and solar water panels on the roof supplement the demand for hot water all year around.
The brief from our client was to create a relaxed contemporary house within a reconsidered, ‘natural’ landscape that blurred the site boundaries to its neighbours and adjoining marshland. The undulating wild turf lawn creates a softened edge to the house into which the black lined pool extends.
RIBA Awards Assessment:
“This house creates an extraordinary unfolding relationship to an expansive watery landscape with a very limited and controlled material palette of pale grey linear bricks, plaster and timber.
The brick walls meander through and retain the banked landscape, offer a glimpse of the wetlands beyond. The timber lined entrance hall leads the eye first up through a top-lit glass atrium roof and then out through the long glass wall to the distant view.
The minimalist design belies the adaptability and liveability of the house: a large wooden sliding wall can separate the family room from the rest of the house, the glass sliding wall allows the house to open out to the landscape, folding shutters to the upstairs bedroom creates a direct visual and acoustic link to the atrium and rest of the house. In the end, the careful geometric and material choices are augmented by an exemplary control of light and views. “
BTA Structural Design
Baillie Knowles Partnership
Christine Hatt Landscape Design
Robert Norman Construction Ltd
Letts Swimming Pools
East Regional Award 2014