Whitebeams

Client: Private

The House at Givons Grove is located on an elevated south-facing chalk slope, with far reaching views down the Mole Valley. We were chosen by the client from a RIBA shortlist.

The brief was for a multi-generational, five bedroom house to replace an existing bungalow owned by the client’s family. There was a specific requirement for a self-contained flat for a grandparent to be incorporated into the main house. The location within the green belt placed a series of constraints on the design, including limits on height and overall floor area.

Constraints on access helped determine the location of the garage, which was set below ground to limit its impact and to maximise the ground floor living area. Adjusting the existing site levels and setting the house within the slope also enabled the incorporation of an additional storey within the height constraint. The long, low form is designed to maximise the frontage with south facing views, while the grandparent’s flat is articulated as a cranked element expressed as a white box. The main entrance is located at the point where the main house and flat meet. An extended roof and balconies provide shade, shelter and articulation to the main façade.

In plan, the principal rooms are orientated south towards the views with secondary rooms to the north. In section, the shallow roof pitch is expressed internally as sloping soffits to bedrooms, which helps mitigate the constrained floor-to-floor heights. The materials are designed to reflect the chalky nature of the site with off-white render on a brick plinth and a zinc roof.

Energy saving measures include photovoltaic panels, high levels of insulation and solar gain in winter through the use of large areas of shaded glazing on the southern elevation. The house uses an energy efficient whole house ventilation system.

The landscaping was designed by Churchman Landscape Architects. This is divided by use with space to the north of the house stepped to provide a series of beds for vegetables and the area to the south of the house set to lawn and pool.