Local Authority: Hanley-on-Thames Town Council

Type: Bespoke Private House

Location: Oxfordshire, South East England, United Kingdom

Size: 575m2

Year: 2017


RIBA South Award 2018

RIBA Project Architect of the Year Award 2018

Architects: Sarah Griffiths + Amin Taha

Quantity Surveyor: Fleming Russell Stent
Structural Engineer: Adams Kara Taylor (akt II)
Structural Design Staircase: Webb Yates Engineers
Lighting Design: Pritchard Themis
M&E Engineer: Peter Deer & Associates
Concrete Consultancy: David Bennett – Concrete Consultant
Concrete Consultancy & Concrete Contractor: Toureen Mangan
Structural Design/Corten Carport: AFP Partnership

Photography: © Tim Soar & Mike Taylor

The clients had long owned a decaying five-bedroom 1956 cedarwood bungalow on a glorious 1.75 acre south-facing site bordering the Thames between Marlow and Henley-on-Thames.Inspired by the heritage of a neighbouring Grade 1 Georgian mansion, they commissioned RIBA in 2005 to help find an architect to design ‘A Country Villa for the 21st Century’ that would stand the test of time, be a family house, but support them as they entered old age.It was to be as much a permanent record of design and construction excellence as the 18th Century mansion.

Mentored by Teresa Borsuk of Pollard Thomas Edwards, they created short lists from 67 proposals.The winning innovative design respected the AONB rural setting, offered flexibility in use of space, and provided ease of access via level thresholds, wide, latch-less pivot doors and a ground floor bedroom suite. Using modern materials and a ‘green’ agenda, it was inspired by the scale, setting and classic design principles of Palladio’s Villa Foscari : on a podium and in 9 sections.It drew considerable opposition from a neighbour and some conservation volunteers, but won planning approval through the active engagement of Wycombe Council’s Planners, RIBA ex-President Michael Manser,and CABE.

The project was divided into two phases so the clients could remain on site.A Corten-clad cross-laminated-timber gatehouse with studio, office, garage and one-bedroom flat, was completed by a contractor in 2013, with the main house being completed and the clients taking up residence In 2017.

*As a former director of Amin Taha Architects, Sarah Griffiths RIBA has been involved from projects inception in 2005 to its final delivery in 2017.

Sarah Griffiths RIBA (Williams Griffiths)

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© Tim Soar
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© Mike Taylor

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All images courtesy of Sarah Griffiths (Williams Griffiths)


Sarah Griffiths (Williams Griffiths)

Sarah Griffiths RIBA
Sarah Griffiths RIBA

Sarah studied at Birmingham School of Architecture and Edinburgh University and has worked previously at Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands Architects and McDowell & Benedetti Architects.

In 2003 she co- founded multi-award winning practice Amin Taha Architects with Amin Taha and Richard Cheesman.

Sarah Griffiths & Martin Williams established Williams Griffiths Architects in 2015.


Williams Griffiths Architects

The Cooperage

91 Brick Lane


E1 6QL

0203 773 8173


Amin Taha