Split House / Alma-nac Collaborative Architecture

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Split House / Alma-nac Collaborative Architecture
© Jack Hobhouse
Split House / Alma-nac Collaborative Architecture
© Jack Hobhouse

Project Details:
Location: Fairlight, Rother, England
Type: ResidentialHouses
Architects: Alma-nac Collaborative Architecture
Photographs: Jack Hobhouse

Split House is a contemporary private house on a coastal hill top in Fairlight, Rother. The client, a couple well engaged with the local community, wanted to build a through-life house that would engage with the surrounding landscape, with a construction process that would draw from the local trades.

Split House / Alma-nac Collaborative Architecture
Diagram

Informed by the brief for such a sustainable home that would celebrate its hilltop site, Split House is defined by orientating key internal spaces towards one of the series of outstanding surrounding views: a wildflower valley, the immediate coast, the neighbouring village of Pett and the headland of Dungeness.

Split House / Alma-nac Collaborative Architecture
© Jack Hobhouse

In responding directly towards these views, and sheltering from the prevailing winds, the volume of the building is naturally fragmented. The resulting form provides a clearly delineated public side, facing the adjacent houses and a wind protected private side, open to the wild flower meadow.

Split House / Alma-nac Collaborative Architecture
© Jack Hobhouse

Timetable

From winning the client led invited competition to submitting for planning approval took 6 months, with construction starting approximately one year later in June 2012. A stringent costing exercise was undertaken during this process, in an effort to reach the client’s budgetary target while delivering a fixed area and provision schedule.

Split House / Alma-nac Collaborative Architecture
© Jack Hobhouse

The building is a highly insulated steel super frame with timber infill set over a concrete pool base and slab, a method chosen as being the most efficient in dealing with the large cantilevered form. An external palette of slate, timber and render sits within a landscape framed with gabion walls. Through use of an un-lapped rainscreen cladding system, slate use was reduced by a third.

Through building form and specific material choices, including the slates and stainless steel clips set alongside deep timber-lined angled reveals, Split House creates an ongoing set of changing shadows and reflections throughout the day.

Split House / Alma-nac Collaborative Architecture
© Jack Hobhouse

Extending this split geometry into the landscape, terminated by the potting shed, creates a soft sense of enclosure, allowing for the provision of a private garden without visually breaking from the neighbouring wildflower meadow. The internal junction of the two forms split levels provides a protected snug.

Inclusive design/ through life construction

Split House is designed as a future proofed house. Provisions such as an internal lift, wheelchair friendly circulation spaces, flush thresholds, showers with seating space and WCs with space for future grab rails all serve to ensure the house is accessible and useable by all.

Split House / Alma-nac Collaborative Architecture
© Jack Hobhouse

Through life flexibility is hidden within the design. A section of the ground floor plan can be simply re-arranged to provide a small residence for a live in carer from the bedroom, bathroom and snug.

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