John Pardey Architects has bagged its first “Country House Clause” project, with Surrey’s planners granting permission for an ultra-modern take on Lutyens under Paragraph 55 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) – which allows for “truly outstanding designs” that “reflect the highest standards in architecture” – at appeal.
The 15,400 square foot mansion in Munstead has been inspired in part by the Edwin Lutyens-designed great country piles that scatter the surrounding Surrey Hills; it is, the architect says, intended to “completely re-imagine the country house – attempting to create a dwelling that perhaps Lutyens would design if he had the technical means that lie in our hands today.”
An entirely-glazed ground floor topped with an over-hanging upper level behind a diaphanous screen made of off-white concrete fins means that The Aviary seems to float above its site. Bedrooms on the first floor are planned around a roof garden; this, according to the architect, “is demonstration that here in the 21st century, when most of the world’s population live in cities and space is at a premium, for the country house, the connection to nature is perhaps the most important, the most valuable aspect of dwelling.”
Here’s what Planning Inspector Paul Jackson had to say about JPA’s The Aviary: “What makes this project uniquely interesting and innovative in design terms, is the expression of the first floor with a high quality permeable screen of narrow vertical elements which reflects the predominant silver birch trees in the surrounding woods. The glass reinforced concrete fins would be unsupported at the top and would hide the interior bedrooms and terraces but also reflect the light in different ways depending on the weather and time of day; but at all times being intrinsically linked with and seen against the surrounding trees. The fins also provide solar shading. The building would be seen as a contrast and yet a part of the landscape.
“The addition of this building of high quality design, that responds to its location in a way that enhances the ability to appreciate the natural landscape, together with a landscape strategy that seeks to reinforce and enhance the existing woodland, represents a positive benefit and an exemplar of how such development could be carried out. I conclude that the project satisfies all the tests set out in paragraph 55; and would enhance the character and appearance of the area.”
|Architect||John Pardey Architects|
|GIA m2||1,430 m2|
|Landscape architect||Todd Longstaffe-Gowan|
|M&E Consultant||King Shaw|