Things to consider when creating a new build

Beginning with a blank canvas is a thing of dreams for an architect. Whether it’s a ‘start from scratch’ new development, or the creation of a new dwelling on an existing site, we can influence and perfect every single detail.

There are several main considerations when designing a new build, and at the top of the list must be how the resulting property will contribute to – and enhance the character of – its setting. Sensitivity and sustainability are key. Throw into the mix the client’s specific requirements, geographical features, proposed materials (and their availability and cost on a small island in the English Channel), there’s a lot to work out.

Soaring energy costs and a drive for sustainability have led to an increasing demand for the likes of PV solar slates, rainwater harvesting and sustainable building materials. All of these featured in plans we recently submitted for a new build project.

For this project we were initially tasked with a full renovation, including altering internal layouts and overall upgrades throughout. Our clients wanted an extension to provide additional floor area to allow for further bedrooms and bathrooms, as well as improved outdoor space. Planning permission was received for a full renovation and a large modern extension to rear. However, due to the significant upgrades required and in turn the associated build cost, our client wanted to explore the entire replacement of the existing dwelling.

Located within an agricultural priority area, the original building isn’t listed but it very much contributing to the setting and forms part of a group of characterful buildings with its neighbours. Therefore, as mentioned above, it was crucial that the replacement dwelling was of such a high quality of design that it will enhance the character of the area and make a more positive contribution than the building it will replace.

The client’s requirements were considered and clear. They wanted a three-bedroom new build with a guest suite, incorporating a lift for improved accessibility. The interior will comprise open plan, generous living areas, and, again, improved accessibility throughout. Outside, the planned terrace can be used for al fresco dining.

Integral to sticking to the theme of retaining a traditional design that is sensitive to the existing property’s history and surrounding, is the choice of building materials. There is always a reason deeper than pure aesthetics for selecting specific materials. In this case, we chose traditional granite to front the dwelling, as well as granite roadside walls to directly match the local area. Traditional sash windows, granite quoins, exposed lintels and brick dummy chimneys all feature in the plans for the main house.

Juxtaposing contemporary and traditional design can often be difficult to achieve successfully. But with the proposed wing facing away from neighbours in this particular case, we were able to carefully create contrasting designs, with millboard timber cladding, pitched gables, aluminium fascias and a large area of glazing. The aim was to maximise space and light and provide views out onto a wonderful green space – soaking up the last of the evening sun.

Are you planning a new build project? Contact JGA today for a free, initial on-site consultation.

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