Modern Downley House by Birds Portchmouth Russum Architects
London-based architectural practice, Birds Portchmouth Russum Architects, has designed the Downley House project. Completed in 2011, the contemporary home in in Hampshire, England was built on the site of an old ruin.
In 2009 the owner purchased an existing ruin in the South Downs and held a limited architectural competition for a new family house. Their brief sought tranquil yet playful spaces, local natural textures, contrasts, in a home that was not obvious and optimised the beautiful landscape views.
According to the architect: “The design of the home is in the genre of an English country home enjoying an unfolding sequence of spaces and views and composed of simple geometric forms nestling within the landscape. A promenade is established which reveals changing experiences of the arcadian surroundings: It commences at the circular arrival court, extends via an oak pergola through the inner garden court, in which the ruin stands as a romantic verdant folly, to the cylindrical entrance hall. The internal circulation flows from the entrance hall and guest wing stair along the entrance façade and across the ‘Foudre’ dining hall to connect with a further staircase. This leads to the roof garden which enjoys a panoramic view of the valley and bridges to the hillside to complete the promenade into the landscape.
“The house is divided into two wings, one for the family and one for guests, to satisfy the clients contradictory brief which required space for their American relatives, while not intruding on their family life. The wings are linked by a large ‘foudre’ barrel inspired dining hall at the heart of the architectural promenade, which is aligned on the ruin entrance and has fully opening glazing connecting the inner entrance court to an informal south facing sunken terrace. Two cylindrical towers containing the entrance hall and primary staircase are placed symmetrically either side of the Foudre.”
Images courtesy of Nick Kane
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