Over the last twelve years, Pad has undertaken design work ranging from residential extensions to major mixed-use urban extensions of several thousand new homes with supporting facilities. At Priory Gardens, working with Greenheart Sustainable Construction, we delivered a bespoke new home overlooking the historic city of Bath. The result, which was featured on the December 2017 cover of Self Build & Design, is an exciting building of clean lines and complementary natural materials, integrated within its context of generally detached dwellings and mature vegetation.

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Project Name: Priory Garderns
Studio Name: Pad Designs
Status: Built

Priory Garderns by Pad Designs - Sheet3Design Process

When Pad was approached in early 2015 to become involved in the site, it already had planning permission for a new home. A third-of-an-acre plot, part of a sub-divided neighbouring garden, the new owners were looking for a more contemporary design than had been previously proposed. They were also seeking a home which would suit the needs of a growing family of five, and asked for a simple, sustainable design that would make the most of the sloping site and respect the neighbours’ views and privacy.

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Christin Peglow, an Architectural Director at Pad, was the design lead for the project. While the clients decided not to seek full Passivhaus certification, the majority of Passivhaus principles were incorporated. The well insulted home has been built to a high level of air tightness, with mechanical heat recovery ventilation, and correspondingly have no need for space heating. These elements are complemented by the site layout and the choice of materials.

Priory Garderns by Pad Designs - Sheet4It was decided to push the dwelling back into the slope, rather than the more central position which had previously been identified, enabling the usable garden space to be maximised. This also increased the offset to the adjoining properties to the west, enabling substantial glazing to be provided along the west facing elevation – taking advantage of the evening sun and views across the city. Functional uses, including a store, are located within the semi-buried eastern side of the house; with only two, opaque first floor bathroom windows facing towards the adjoining property to the east. Indeed, the first floor steps forward to maintain an agreed stand-off with this dwelling (within whose ownership the land had previously been) and providing shading for the ground floor, west-facing sliding doors.

The house is clad in natural materials and as a result seems well rooted within the hillside. Honey-coloured random rubble stone wraps around the ground floor, an attractive and interesting way of including the city’s distinctive building material; and is complemented by a visually lighter, timber-clad upper storey, which softens the building and responds to the surrounding trees. A sedum roof further helps the whole fit with its context.

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Priory Garderns by Pad Designs - Sheet2As well as the architectural design, Pad undertook the working drawings for this project. This allowed Christin and Associate James Lawley to ensure that the design principles were seen through into the delivery of the building. On-site inspections were part of our close working relationship with the builders, Greenheart Sustainable Construction. The attractive external areas, which work seamlessly with the built form, were designed and built by Turners Landscapes.


We are delighted with the results at Priory Gardens, which have created an attractive, and sustainable new home for our clients to enjoy.

Priory Garderns by Pad Designs - Sheet1

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Rethinking The Future Awards 2022