AJ Specification

David Kirkland, founding principal, Kirkland Fraser Moor Architects comments in AJ Specification on this outstanding build featuring 40,000 Acme Burnt Flame double camber clay plain tiles:

Balancing landscape with architecture architect Kirkland Fraser Moor has created a rural family home that combines the local vernacular tradition with exceptionally low carbon emissions.  Quintain House is a family home in the English countryside, designed to achieve low-to-zero carbon standards. Because of the very sensitive nature of the rural site, exceptional circumstances were cited to justify planning consent. These included:

• A positive contribution to rural life
• The creation of a rich cultural heritage that best expresses our age for current and future generations
• The promotion of exemplar sustainable architectural and landscape design
• The promotion of transferable innovation that can provide viable solutions to problems of rural housing

The design of this dwelling is based on a desire to work within the grain of the local vernacular tradition while responding to the need to make a building of our time. This requires strategies for reducing reliance on carbon-emitting processes and products. Essential to the project is the need to balance architecture with landscape. Each is required to work in harmony with the other. Biodiversity has been substantially increased and much of the surrounding land has been returned to productivity through the planting of vineyards. The building form evolved in response to natural and cultural forces, which entailed:

• Using the sun’s free energy with a passive solar-gain strategy
• Ensuring high levels of daylight for internal spaces
• Highly insulated north-facing walls with few window openings
• Ensuring good views from internal spaces
• Reducing visual intrusion from light pollution and car parking
• Accentuating visual delight from long views
• Creation of intimate private external spaces
• Flexible internal layout
• Quality natural building components that are long lasting and weather well

The ‘S’-shaped plan form emerged from both the internal programme and the external context. The north-facing entrance and garaging courtyard flip gently into a south facing private courtyard, which makes extensive use of wide views and 12-hour direct solar access for the passive solar gain strategies. The courtyards have been placed strategically, providing the living areas with south-facing views, high levels of daylight and passive solar gain. The less ‘valuable’ north-facing aspect is given over to vehicle access, arrivals and servicing.

The poetic ‘S’-form roof would be compromised by the insertion of roof lights or traditional dormer windows. However, using traditional eyebrow dormer window designs as a model, a geometry was found that allowed light and views to be accessible from the first floor. The degree of rise for each warped edge is related to the amount of view and light required within the internal spaces, the largest being associated with the double-height vaulted gallery space.

Supporting the application, the South West Design Review Panel praised the innovative design, saying: ‘It is exciting, extraordinary and idiosyncratic [and] just the kind of challengingly different scheme that PPS7 is there to bring forward.’ The landscaping extends the geometry that underpins the architecture. One of the key features of the design will be the planting of a vineyard and orchard, providing an interesting and appropriate transition between the domestic curtilage and the surrounding agricultural landscape.

Roof construction

Quintain House’s clay tiled roof is sympathetic to those in nearby traditional villages in the surrounding area. Its striking undulating form was very challenging on a technical level. That it was achieved using plain tiles demonstrates their versatility in creating complex roof designs. Architect Kirkland Fraser Moor chose to specify Marley Acme Burnt Flame Double Camber clay plain tiles, which have a longitudinal and latitudinal camber. These are richly coloured clay tiles with a unique double curve, giving designers the opportunity to create highly textured roofscapes with accentuated light and shade. The curved roof required 40,000 gable tiles. These were chosen instead of standard tiles to facilitate the required cutting.

Project Data

Roof tiles - Marley Acme Burnt Flame Double Camber clay plain tiles
Architect - Kirkland Fraser Moor
Architect on site - John Phipps Architecture
Roofing contractor - Rowlands Roofing
Structural engineer - Buro Happold
M&E and sustainability consultant - Buro Happold
Landscape architect - Landscape Agency
Planning consultant  - Rural Solutions

Photography - David Kirkland and Marley

Expected completion - Summer 2016

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