A new house that offers flying visits

JCA Team:
Chris Lawler BSc (Hons) MSt (Cantab)
Michael Clark BA (Hons) Dip Arch RIBA
Project year: 2019
Photographer: Willam Pearce
External link: www.williamjpearce.com

Our client, a retired RAF fast jet pilot and his family, had been living in their house on the hill for over a decade with wide open skies overlooking a glorious part of Hampshire. It turns out that during that time, they had been dreaming of something more exciting.

That's where JCA came in, with a scheme to demolish the existing house consisting of three cottages converted to one and build something more suited to those dreams and the wonderful site.

There is always some trepidation when taking such scorched earth measures to the planners - even with what client and Architect believe not only suit the owner's needs, but actually fit in with and enhance the area.

The idea was to make the building dovetail with the site and save the magnificent trees that surrounded it. Also to make the rear a real sun trap and create a classic building that was not a blot on the landscape, would stand the test of time and importantly suit the family in terms of its look, flow and space.

With a considered and careful approach outlining all the reasons how the design fitted within the local plan, all were genuinily surprised at how supportive the planners were, when often the same regulations are interpreted to stop all but the usual dreary and predictable designs - or to preserve some ordinary and unsuitable building in aspic.

What appeared was an elegant and interesting building, built in the traditional style to modern standards in terms of insulation and amenities, along with a detached staff building with garaging; different in look, but very much in keeping.

Unusually the entrance hall opens up onto the large dining hall, so rather than being relegated to some far flung corner of the house, the light and airy dining room becomes the centerpiece - a place for family and friends to break bread, have fun and enjoy the view over the south-facing garden.

Cleverly all routes lead off. In one direction the kitchen, utility, boot room, media room cum library, lift, rear entrance and garages, in the other, living room, study and a grand staircase leading to the first floor bedrooms and attic. So when not in use, the dining hall becomes an elegant circulation space.

It's a house that our client says flows exceptionally well internally. Externally the large front forecourt has plenty of space for parking and the exciting steeply sloped grass runway and adjacent but hidden hanger offers opportunities for flying visits for those with equal nerves of steel as the owner.