A Modern Manor
Location: Wheathampstead, London Green Belt, England
This wonderful site, located near Wheathampstead, an area rich in history, used to be part of a greater estate – The Lamer Estate, of which, the Lamer House is located in close proximity to our site. The property was divided and sold by its last owner, Apsley Cherry-Garrard after the Second World War. The site is also part of several Heritage Walks that reenact the old parish boundaries.
The goal of the proposed development is to restore the area’s typical way of living, through a homogenous intervention that takes into account the entirety of the site.
To a larger scale, a system of rambling and horse riding trails was imagined, giving one the opportunity to explore the whole site. The public tracks are to be maintained, allowing the site to be connected to the surroundings as it once used to be. A large area of the site is dedicated to agriculture and sheep farming and some beehives are also to be installed in several spots.
The more planted areas around the house acts as a screen between the private and the public and between the domestic and the agricultural and pathways connect the residence with the other dwellings (guest house, stables and workshops), the vegetable garden, orchards and the landscape itself.
The concept of the house was to create a building that has a great potential for interaction in between the surrounding nature and the house, while fitting in the existing landscape.
The house finds itself facing south-west towards the lake and partially sunken into the landscape and reminds us of old manors through the composition of its single-storey volumes placed on a lower loggia, giving it a sculptural quality within its setting. This layout provides great accessibility and allows defining different outdoor areas like the main entrance, generous terraces, gardens and loggias, resulting in a house closely connected to the land.
The living spaces are to be found in the central volume that opens itself towards the landscape completely offering spectacular views and benefit from a large terrace that overlooks the lake. The other two volumes mediate the relationship with the surroundings through their smaller size. The study area is accessible through a second entrance and has a direct access to the garden.
The room-height openings provide panoramic vistas of the lake and the surrounding landscape establishing a vibrant connection between the interior of the house and the latter.
The master quarters and the guest apartment find themselves on the lower floor, benefitting from privacy and developing around sunken gardens. A covered loggia provides access to the swimming pool and connects with the main floor through an exterior ramp.
The light coloured brickwork put together with lime mortar is another historic element that roots the building in its setting. A stone floor goes throughout the building providing a surface rich in quality and a sense of coherence.
The beauty of the house relies in its own simplicity and continuous dialog with the landscape.