All cool stuff, all the time - since Feb 27 / 2011
Photographed by Charles Hosea
Location: Ashford, Kent, England
Owing to the site’s significance, local planning policy dictates that any new building must replace an existing one and is to be of similar scale and proportion to that of the original. The design response from GHA to the clent’s brief was to create an architecture that understands ‘place’. To this end a material palette was chosen that would enhance with age, inspired by Dungeness. Whilst being designed to an incredibly tight budget of under £250,000, the building has a very high quality and robust nature to withstand the harsh climate.
To reduce the building’s impact on the natural shingle, it sits on a series of pad foundations which elevates the house off the beach, suspended by half a metre (1.64 feet). The timber frame construction is sealed by a rubber waterproofing layer that acts as a whole house gutter, allowing the rain to fall through the batten over-cladding and down the building. The three modules of the building are each enveloped in separate materials, a Core-ten steel mesh, Larch, and robust cement fibre board that will each act as rain-shields. The building is extremely durable, an important aspect considering the harsh climate and exposed setting. The exposure will cause the larch and core ten to weather silver and red respectively, an echo to the natural landscape. The building has been designed to be as energy efficient as possible.
Hinge House is defined by a 65’ long opaque library wall that serves as a sectional “hinge” by which the public and private programmatic elements of the house are connected. The library wall and primary circulation route into the house follow the slope of the landscape descending towards the ravine. The resulting scissor-like section presents a compact front façade that trifurcates into distinct volumes and windows on the back-side of the house facing the ravine.
The dining room and kitchen are located on the lowest levels while the living room is perched on top. In between these volumes are the interstitial areas constituting the library, study, studio, guest bedrooms and master bedroom. A conversation nook sits below the atrium surrounded by centrifugal stairs with a skylight above.
The house is located on a prominent corner site overlooking a ravine in downtown Toronto. Given the predominance of vehicular traffic and incumbent noise of the site, the house presents a protective, introverted face to the street and an open, extroverted face to the ravine.