Presented with the seemingly simple proposition of designing a house that was streamlined, soft and luxurious like their cars, the client challenged London-based Baca Architects to create a substantial new home that followed the same philosophy.
Detailed designs and working drawings for Serenity in Nottinghamshire are now fully developed and the project is ready for the important tender stage, the formal process of issuing plans to pre-qualified building contractors to gather competitive quotes for the construction work.
Designed using state-of-the-art computer modeling software and rethinking conventional approaches and tools used in environmental housing design today, the result is an exuberant property that stretches the boundaries of design, structure, and environmental thinking. It also reconciles a difficult combination: a home that is low in energy use but high in aesthetic aspiration and luxurious qualities.
Serenity delivers a reconstruction of formal and private rooms set in wings typical of large 18th century houses, but reconstructed within a continual loop around a central sunken courtyard and garden. Achieving the Passivhaus energy standard was extremely demanding for an organic form with high energy and water demands, such as a cinema room and swimming pool.
Replacing the drawing room, parlour, ballroom and smoking room of yesteryear are a state-of-the-art home cinema, games room, acoustic music pod, grotto swimming pool, home gym and connected office, all seamlessly wired to incorporate the latest digital technology, security surveillance equipment and triple A-rated appliances.
A sweeping roof appears to float above the undulating building, enclosing four wings, or hubs including a formal entertaining hub, a family hub, games hub and an annex. The ceramic tiled roof is perhaps the most striking feature and also provides shading, privacy and screening; it also harnesses enough solar energy to generate the majority of renewable power required to run the property.
The house is designed to create a seamless flow of activity, with the grand entrance hall cascading down to the kitchen, which flows in to the family living room and on through the orangery and pool house. The central courtyard creates a protected outdoor formal garden and the free-flowing plan, stepping inside and outside, will enable contained entertaining and also informal family leisure.
Designer, Baca Architects, best known for innovative water-based architecture (“aquatecture”), has woven water through the scheme. Rainwater is collected in a reflecting pool at the centre of the house before cascading to create a gentle but dramatic waterfall or ‘water curtain’ in the courtyard whenever it rains, and providing a soft refreshing mist during drier periods. This fascinating outdoor feature also has a very practical application, helping to reduce run-off water and provide cooling for the house.
Serenity is uncompromising luxury, underpinned by sustainability; it borrows from history, preserves those elements that work, evolves others that don’t and frames it unapologetically in the 21st Century – one might suggest the true spirit of the English Century House in the 21st Century.
Press – Out of Hours
Ruth Deans – Baca Architects, Press and Media. Mob:07752 990431 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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