The development in conjunction with Anvil Homes was recently shortlisted for The Sunday Times British Homes Award 2015. What is it about the project that you think has attracted so much attention?
I think it’s how the site has preserved the character and feel of the site – it is adjacent a beautiful church and splendid older property. It needed to sit effortlessly within the site context and I think we achieved that here.
The development has a real feel of authenticity to it, I think you would be surprised to find out that it is a new build. Is this something that you were looking for? How did you achieve it?
Yes that's definitely right. It is achieved by enormous attention to the small details and many years of learning how buildings used to be built so we could adapt modern methods to reflect the appearance of age without producing a ‘twee’ or ‘kitch’ product. It is a huge effort to design properties like that, but worth taking the time to do it right, as the award shortlist has recognised. The site design is also critical – not just the design but the selection of site is everything. Without context, nothing has any real meaning, so being able to find these elusive plots is a true challenge in itself.
How did you approach the project initially? Was it difficult working in a village where the majority of other buildings are so traditional? Was this a big factor in your design approach?
The brief from the client is everything, it is my bible so to speak. Planning guidelines are challenging in a lot of areas, they tend to drive you down a road you are not sure you want to be heading down. My skill set is to be able to spot where the planning book 'sat nav' says you must go and find a different way if the client doesn’t like the route!
What were the main challenges that you had to overcome on the project? Are there any features that you are particularly proud of?
Site layout. Creating exclusivity within what was a residential garden and now has three homes in it. The stone bay windows are the detail I am most proud of. They were incredibly challenging to build in a traditional manner so we have revisited the design to simplify them massively yet they look identical to the originals.
This project was delivered in collaboration with a developer. If a private client was looking for something similar how would you go about helping them make it happen?
There is no difference in treatment between a private individual and a developer. As my client you have an equal draw on my input and services.
Project Name: Slaley Development
Hub roles: Architectural design, planning submissions, building regulations