The proposal for Glanmor involved alterations and new extensions to an existing, 3-storey dwelling in stunning Langland Bay, near Swansea in South Wales.
The site is situated on the cliff edge / coastal slope at Langland Bay. The property offers amazing views with the open sea directly to the south and the beach and headland to the South-West. The property has a large garden on the sea / South side, accessible from the Lower Ground Floor level. The garden extends right out to the site boundary hedge on the southern most side of the site. Beyond the site is a narrow pedestrian coastal path and the cliff edge.
The design evolved following a detailed analysis of the site with it’s difficult access and topography as well as the highly complex, multi-levelled existing building with numerous inappropriate and poorly maintained extensions and additions.
Firstly an enlargement and reorganisation of the entrance car parking area was required with the repositioning of the double garage. The entrance sequence of arrival at the existing house was very poor and the car parking area was very crowded, tight and poorly organised. The proposal removed the existing garage which blocked the space, limited views and was visually disconnected from, and awkwardly connected to, the existing property. The proposal placed a new garage, next to neighbouring garage building, set back to reveal the existing house. A new car parking platform was then extended over the sloping grassed derelict area to the West of the property and a new storage room for the client’s watersports and outdoor equipment was formed underneath.
A vast improvement to the pedestrian sequence of entry to the property was also required. As well as the existing sloping path wrapping around the dwelling being impractical and narrow it descended to the main entrance on the East side of the house. The key move was to change the entrance location to the West side thus using the redundant, derelict space between the house and the neighbouring apartment building and opening up the immediate views of the sea on arrival at the property. Also by introducing the new double-height, glass roofed, narrow Entrance Hall extension it visually signifies the entrance. Stair access up to the first floor and general internal circulation was resolved by situating the new cantilevered concrete staircase in the double height, glass-roofed, Entrance Hall space.
The existing property had many small enclosed rooms, many of which were to the rear/North side of the house thus being very dark and unpleasant to use. By opening up the ground floor into one multi-use, contemporary, open plan space this allowed light to flood in from all directions, especially with the addition of large full height glazed screens and sliding doors accessing two new terraces to the South-East and South-West. The glazing was also critical to exposing the fantastic views from all parts of the Ground floor space.
An initial, and fundamental, design philosophy was to propose demolishing many of the poor existing extensions and to retain, repair and expose the best of the existing building. Returning it to a much closer version of it’s original form. The proposed new extensions were designed to be kept clearly defined from the existing building, smaller in scale and impact and much more transparent.
It was vital, with such a stepped / sloping site, to improve the visual and physical links between the 3No. internal levels and the car parking and garden spaces. The garden was particularly important to the clients and their small children. The Garden Room, carved out of the ground adjacent to the existing lower ground floor room, gives flush access to the garden which was previously isolated and ignored in the existing house. Also the open, glass balustraded stairs link the ground floor open plan space to the lower ground floor Garden Room seamlessly. The stair flight to the first floor, situated in the double height Entrance Hall, has a frameless glass balcony space to the landing upstairs allowing the circulation areas on the first floor to have natural light borrowed from the Entrance Hall roof glazing as well as helping with visual communication with the Ground floor below.
In terms of materiality the existing main house was respectfully and carefully restored. The new elements are clearly visually defined from the existing house whilst remaining sympathetic to it’s material language and geometric form. Balustrades to the new Living and Dining terraces are all frameless glass giving unobstructed views from within the interior whilst being virtually invisible, and stylistically timeless, when viewing the house from the South, and particularly from the beach below. Careful consideration was also given to the appearance from above, mainly due to the exposed views onto the property from the elevated main Langland Bay Road, behind the high stone retaining wall to the North of the car parking area. The flat roofs of the new garage and sitting room extensions are covered with a sedum blanket enabling them to disappear into the greenery of the surroundings.