Location: Gloucestershire, South West England, United Kingdom
Architects: Alison Brooks Architects
Photography: © Paul Riddle
Positioned on the highest point in Gloucestershire overlooking the Wye Valley, this new house and landscape is conceived as a “gallery with people living in it”, showcasing an extensive collection of African Tribal Art.
Windward House was a late-Georgian farmhouse with several extensions and outbuildings. ABA restored and transformed the interior with a new triple-height gallery space, mezzanine and guest accommodation.
The second phase of the project, the ‘West Wing’, is a 300 m² extension positioned to interlock with the existing farmhouse. It is subtly modelled to echo the undulations of the adjacent meadows, while forming a low-key backdrop to the existing house.
The West Wing is conceived as a series of courtyards, creating sheltered ‘outdoor rooms’ that contrast with the distant landscape seen from upper levels. A carefully choreographed sequence of spaces meander from the transformed Georgian farmhouse to the West Wing’s expanding and contracting volumes. A recessed court shelters the entrance from the south; a deep first floor roof terrace takes in the spectacular view south to the Bristol Channel; the double-height living room overlooks a sloped pool of grasses and perennials.
Rooflights sculpt and funnel light from above, selectively illuminating both spaces and objects below. Walls are positioned to accommodate a number of paintings and a large collection of books. Windows frame the landscape as a work of art, with pieces from the owner’s collection as foreground.
The West Wing re-uses stone found on site, creating a sense of continuity with the landscape. Anthracite cladding, arranged in a variegated pattern, echoes the dark vertical shadows of woodland trees in the nearby Forest of Dean. Supporting a new stone-clad mass above, a mirror polished stainless steel volume reflects the nearby wildflower meadow creating a visual paradox of mass and weightlessness.
ABA is currently working on the third phase of this project, the Pool House, due for completion in 2018.
Alison Brooks Architects
All images courtesy of Alison Brooks Architects |© Paul Riddle
Alison Brooks Architects
Alison Brooks, Principal and Creative Director of Alison Brooks Architects, is one of the leading architects of her generation. She has developed an international reputation for a multi-award winning body of work since founding the practice in 1996. Born in Ontario, Canada in 1962, she moved to London in 1988 after graduating with a BES and BArch from the University of Waterloo.
Alison Brooks’ architectural approach emerges from broad cultural research, with each project expressing a specific response to place, community and landscape. This has produced a portfolio of projects of distinct identity encompassing urban design, housing, education and buildings for the arts. Her work has attracted international acclaim for its conceptual rigour, sculptural quality and ingenious detailing, exemplified by the spectacular new Cohen Quadrangle for Exeter College, Oxford.
Alison has become a public voice for the profession advocating the role of housing as civic building, the resurgence of building craft and the use of timber in architecture. In 2017 Alison was appointed as a Royal Designer for Industry by the RSA and selected as Mayors Design Advocate for London. She was honoured with the 2017 AJ 100 Contribution to the Profession Award giving the keynote speech to the UK’s 100 largest practices.
Named in 2012 by Debrett’s as one of ‘Britain’s 500 Most Influential’, Alison Brooks is the only British architect to have won all three of the UK’s most prestigious awards for architecture: the RIBA Stirling Prize, Manser Medal and Stephen Lawrence Prize. She was awarded 2013 Woman Architect of the Year by the Architect’s Journal in recognition of her work in housing, regeneration and education. In 2012 Alison Brooks and her team were awarded Architect of the Year and Housing Architect of the Year.
Alison Brooks is a CABE / Design Council National Design Review Panel Chair and Trustee of Open-City. She was a member of The Farrell Review of Architecture and the Built Environment and the RIBA Awards group from 2010-15, where she was juror for the 2011 Stirling Prize and 2010 Lubetkin Prize. Brooks is currently External Examiner at the Architectural Association where she taught a Diploma Unit from 2008-2010. Alison lectures internationally on architecture and urban design. In 2016 she received an Honorary Doctorate of Engineering from University of Waterloo, Canada.
To mark 21 years since the founding of Alison Brooks Architects she published ‘Ideals then Ideas’; an overview of the practice’s work within conceptual, formal and material themes that have emerged over the past two decades.
Alison Brooks Architects
Unit 610, Highgate Studios, 53–79 Highgate Road, London NW5 1TL
+44 (0)207 267 9777