A fully accessible one-off house built to connect with its surrounding landscape

Martins is located near to AONB Suffolk Coasts and Heaths and RSPB Minsmere, a unique coastal reserve. We were briefed to design an accessible home that could provide countryside respite, that was gentle and restful, and had strong connections between inside and outside.

The cranked form maximises the southern facing elevation to capture sunlight and provide connection into the private garden. The orientation of the roof also made it a perfect spot for a large array of photovoltaic-thermal panels that combine principles from photovoltaic solar panels and thermal solar collectors to make the most of the sun’s energy. Combined with the high thermal performance of the off-site manufactured timber frame and a Mechanical Ventilation Heat Recovery (MVHR) system, the house has impressive energy efficiency.

Bites out of the overall form provide sheltered points for step free access in and out at the entrance and onto the rear terrace. This facilitates loading and unloading of a wheelchair in the dry, whatever the weather. Level thresholds throughout were critical for the client to be able to move around the house freely and continuing the concrete floor from the main living space on to the terrace gives easy access directly into the garden. The bites out are clad in black timber, creating contrast and definition against the natural larch cladding on the exterior of the building. The larch has been treated with SiOO:X to uniformly weather to a soft grey to compliment the window frames.

Large windows with low cills provide views out for all onto the surrounding landscape, including a north facing window in the artist’s studio which provides inspiration for their work. Striking roof lights punch natural light into bathrooms in the centre of the plan. Bespoke joinery, carefully planned bathrooms and a fully adapted kitchen add to make this home perfectly suited to the client’s needs.

Project manager: Dove Design and Build

Contractor: Avoncrown

Structural Engineer: Superstructures


Photographs by Alex Parnell