A HOUSE, skilfully hidden into a sloping garden, to have little impact on neighbours’ views of the valley was granted planning permission last month.

Cotswold based architect firm Millar + Howard Workshop designed the three bedroom house to be hidden from its neighbours yet maximise the views over a garden and valley beyond for its residents.

Martina Goluchova, from Millar + Howard Workshop said: “We’ve designed the single story building with a bio-diverse green roof - basically a meadow! - so it seamlessly blends into the site with no impact on any of the neighbours’ current views over a beautiful garden. It’s situated on the edge of a settlement boundary next to a Grade II listed church so we had to consider the impact any new building would have.”

This design follows a previous planning application for a more traditional design (two storeys with a roof) that was refused by the planning department. When reviewing the design and having several constructive conversations with the planners it was decided that the right approach for this specific site, located on the edge of a settlement, would be to give greater consideration to the aesthetic transition between the open countryside and the existing settlement’s buildings. Having listened to the planners concerns, Millar + Howard Workshop submitted an alternative design: a single story building set into the sloping site with a green roof covering the whole footprint and a planted timber canopy along the edge to help feather the building into the surrounding landscape. As a result, approval was gained.

Tomas Millar, a founding director of Millar + Howard Workshop said: “It’s a great example of where a contemporary design is considered more appropriate than a traditional one. You have to design each building for its specific location and not be tied to a particular preconception of what a house must be.”

Martina Goluchova, architect on the project continues: “The immediate landscaping around the proposed dwelling is the well-loved gardens of the clients so we were drawn to the concept of a secret garden retreat and the idea of using its own garden setting to enhance the structure and aesthetic both internally and externally. We created a garden pavilion-like structure that consists of two, cosy, enclosed almost nest-like parts connected by a glazed link to maximise the light and sense of space.

The large amount of glazing and the inevitable reflection helps to blend the building into the landscape. The green roof hides the house from view, adding mystery and creating a sense of nostalgic comfort, as though being inside an animal’s burrow; like living in a real Wind in the Willows”.

This concept added a child-like charm to the design and allows for a more grown-up appreciation of the stunning views for the new residents as well as those in existing surrounding houses.

The house will be constructed from sustainably sourced wood and Cotswold stone and will be built according to low energy building principles and will as a result be extremely energy (and therefore maintenance cost) efficient.

Building facts:

Location: Chalford, Gloucestershire

Gross internal floor area: 183m2

Budget: £500k

Proposed start on site date: Spring 2018

Proposed completion date: Autumn 2018

Client: private home

Architect: Millar + Howard Workshop Landscape and Visual

Appraisal: EDP

Ecologist: All Ecology

Planning Consultant: Plainview Planning

Planning officer & Council: Stroud DC

CAD software used: Vectroworks, Blender