This house in Dorset in the UK exemplifies the belief of the clients and their architects that simplicity and honesty of construction underlie good design
“The Quest” is a private house in Swanage (UK); One of the projects longlisted for the WAN House of the Year 2017, it is a new-build home replacing an ageing bungalow that had been on the site since 1917.
The clients appointed Strom Architects to design a house for their retirement, but with a keen interest in design and a love of abstract and modern art, it needed to eschew the usual trappings of staid, retirement home design.
As a single-storey building the house suits the retired clients’ future needs and the needs of their disabled daughter, whilst giving an elegant solution to the steeply sloped site. Access is via the front of the property to the South, where the house cantilevers over a retaining wall. This has been achieved through two concrete planes: the floor and roof acting together like a space beam, which in turn creates a sheltered undercroft parking area. The wall – faced in local Purbeck stone – not only grounds the structure but defines the change in levels, masking the vehicular route whilst maintaining a clear view from the living spaces across the valley.
Internally, a large open-plan kitchen-dining-living area occupies the centre of the plan, with a covered terrace spanning its length and giving a sheltered outdoor area overlooking the Southern views. To the Eastern end of the house sits the guest accommodation and studies, with the master suite sitting within the cantilevered end of the house. A simple interior palette of stone flooring, a concrete hearth and engineered timber flooring, provide echoes of the external materials - waterproof concrete slabs and untreated larch cladding.
The house exemplifies our belief that simplicity and honesty of construction underlie good design. The initial concept and design drivers are instantly recognisable and we worked to retain this clarity of intent without adding anything unnecessary to the building.