House for a Photographer | Hyde + Hyde Architects

Second Award | Residential Private House (Concept)

  • Project Info
  • Details
Firm Name: Hyde + Hyde Architects

Participant  Name: Kristian Hyde

Country: United Kingdom

House for a Photographer

The existing site is located on the outskirts of Pontypridd – a disused quarry, a unique man-made intervention into an otherwise natural landscape. The result is a womb-like cleft gouged into the face of the hillside leaving a snug enclave of many facets. Further investigation reveals the site has clear distinctive characteristics to each aspect. In summary; open views of the valley countryside, bluebell wood and silver birch trees, a dense landscape of mature vegetation shrub land, exposed natural rock and plateaus.

Constraints: Context analysis reveals the dramatic shift of the quality of light available within the heart of the site. The contrasts are most dramatic through the course of a single day, but with major differences through seasons of the year.

This has been a key driving factor influencing the proposed concept and positioning on the site. Whilst maximising sunlight into the building is key, it is also important to remember that the building itself has the potential to cast a substantial shadow. We therefore propose that the building stands back from the predominantly lit aspect of the site to simultaneously encourage views onto these areas bathed in light, which will in turn reflect back into the heart of the dwelling. We also propose link-bridges to physically engage with natural elevated plateaus that occur throughout the site. To maximize the available budget the architectural concept and overall form has been simplified into an elegant rectilinear form, allowing creative space manipulation internally, incorporating double height space for internal visual connections.

Concept + Parti: As a diagram the arrangement is divided into a circulation spine that serves habitable and functional space. In essence a ‘servant + served’ plan, where stair-cores become anchors along this spine. The house is perceived as a suspended form within the spatially stimulating volume of the quarry, psychologically reinforced by the dramatic cantilever on the approach.

It was decided early that due to the shear scale of the quarry face, a raised ground level would be advantageous in order to maximise available sunlight and views. This provides space for plant, utility and external storage together with 2 parking spaces tucked neatly under the proposed dwelling above. The ascension continues up a flight of stairs to reach the primary habitable space, through onto the study, living, kitchen & dining terminating at the second floor bedroom level.

The facade which faces the trees has been intentionally designed in contrast to the remaining 3 elevational aspects. This allows focused views of nature through linear windows, blending inside and out through proximity to nature.

Concept diagrams: The diagrams on the submitted A3 sheets show the evolution of the design idea. The position of the building is dictated by the conscious decision to retain the garden on the northern bank with its various plateaus. The building nestles on the opposite side collecting bounced light off the northern cliff face.  The position of various activities within the house is a direct response to the external context and views.

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