The brief given by the client / developer asked for an extraordinary and exciting design proposal for four unique dweliings, making the most of the wonderful setting and responding to the mature woods & stream that enclose the secluded site in the Cyncoed area of Cardiff. 

The designs grew from the idea of low-lying, horizontally emphasised, facing brickwork courtyard walls linking all four houses together giving the scheme a sense of unity and coherence as well as promoting the interconnectivity between inside & outside spaces. The courtyards created by these walls also emphasise this idea, forming spaces that are not fully enclosed, but defined by changes of surface material and the use of reflective pools, which allow the flow of space between the properties and beyond the boundaries of the site. The horizontal emphasis of the walls is also accentuated by the use of long, slimline hand-made bricks with raked horizontal bed joints and flush perpends.

A deliberately distinct approach is taken to the upper storey construction, while retaining complementarity with the ground floor both in colour and material through the use of plain clay tiles. The first floor appears to be ‘resting’ on top of, and in places cantilevering over the courtyard walls. The materials and detailing give the impression that the clay tiles wrap over the walls and mono-pitch roof, enclosing and protecting the more private spaces of the first floor. This effect is enhanced through the introduction of glazing to both ends of the mono-pitched element where the slender edge detail of the wrapping tile construction has been exposed.

The limited pallete of materials was selected for its weathering qualities, with the brickwork and plain clay tiles maturing gracefully amongst the trees, enhanced by the inevitable staining and discolouration over time. These ‘traditional’ materials have been handled in a very contemporary, precisely detailed and proportioned way, merging qualities from the past with ideas for the future. 

The design of the houses themselves are unreservedly modern in their form, elevational treatment and internal layout, but are sensitively handled in terms of their massing and architectural language.