Located north of Halifax in Yorkshire, the site is on the side of a hill in the green belt looking down a valley to the south with hills gently rolling to east and west. The existing painted stone farm house and related outbuilding is in a poor state of repair, with the client brief being to demolish it and replace with a new build contemporary dwelling with swimming pool.

The site is approached down a long drive, through timber entrance gates, and onto a dramatic sweeping drive to the lower section of the site, providing the entrant a first glimpse of the spectacular views down the valley. A sedum roof for the first floor roof at the rear gives a greener feel to the house on the approach from above, and a generous garage to the rear of the site houses the client’s cars and motorbikes.

The new design seeks to exploit its prestigious location by affording all the main accommodation with spectacular views down the valley via large expanses of south facing floor to ceiling glazing, as well as a roof terrace and balconies to all the bedrooms. To the west and east the form becomes more solid with apertures framed to capture specific views and the rising/setting sun, with the north hill facing facade having only limited glazing in well insulated walls to allow light into the circulation space on the first floor. The south facing glazing is generally set back under overhangs on ground and first floor to prevent overheating; where this is not the case, provision is made for good cross ventilation, aided by the winds prevalent on the side of a Yorkshire hill.

Green belt restrictions require the new property to be of similar volume/massing to the existing and to be no more imposing on the site. For this reason the swimming pool and plant accommodation is located to the rear and partially set into the hillside with large glazed views to the east. Separating this more private leisure accommodation from the main outward looking living accommodation is a central spine wall that runs from inside to out in the same Yorkshire stone material as the rest of the house. Inset into this wall are elements such as the wood burning fire and tv, as well as most of the services for the dwelling.

The open plan living accommodation on the ground floor is set around two sides of an L shape, with the kitchen visually connected to the generous main living space and the external terrace in-between. Behind the kitchen is a more private and flexible space, capable of adapting to multiple uses such as an informal lounge, cinema room, library or spare guest room (via fold down bed set in the bespoke wall units). Above the main area is a striking double height space, with a related office on the first floor making the most of internal views to the floor below and externally down the valley.

The external terrace spaces are interlinked around the house, mainly to the south side, and generally allow for the shape of the house to shelter the siting areas from the prevailing westerly winds. The fully glazed sliding walls and continuous use of floor tiling break down the distinction between inside and out, and between pool area and main house. The new Yorkshire stone retaining wall of the southern terrace flows round into the east elevation and upwards to form the stone wall of the house, rooting the building firmly into the landscape. Yorkshire stone from the demolished house is to be reused within gabion baskets to form the retaining wall that runs the length of the vehicular entrance way.

The steel support structure has been carefully integrated with the glazing frames and coloured to match, as well as hidden within the ceilings, floors and walls in general, creating an uninterrupted appearance that supports the overall spatial purity. The building meets high building performance and energy standards despite its large glazed façade. Photovoltaic panels are located on the large expanse of south facing roof, amongst other green technological such as a ground source heat pump and existing wind turbine which is to be updated and integrated into the proposals.

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