The client was aiming for country house – ‘a dream in a wood’, a peaceful place to relax, regenerate, and think of new ideas. So the architects created with a linear design that has picked up on the building form – the ‘long cottage’ found along Iken Common, and one can see the design as an evolution of the longitudinal cottage. The site is located in Suffolk two miles inland from Aldeburgh, and lies within the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The site itself forms part of an overall land ownership of 2.5ha surrounded by agricultural land.
The current site has foundations, ruins and some low walls from a house that burned down eight years ago. There is also an existing outdoor pool. Immediately to the west of the pool and ruins, there is a small area of open grass that runs up to the edge of a beautiful copse of mature oak trees. The site is located on the edge of flood zone 2 and 3, and requires a raised floor level 1.5m above the old cottage. The existing site with the pool, its ruins and low walls has a very strong presence, and we wanted to keep this as an important part of the site.
The building sits above the ruins and the edge of the pool, as to respect the current site, but also to deal with the floor level that is required, due to the potential flood risk. The building is also set like this so that it can be read on its own, and thus touch the existing site lightly. The building is orientated towards the west-south-west, and sits on an angle above the existing ruins facing the best views as well as creating a clear juxtaposition of geometry to the ruins.