Project Title: Bourne Lane, Tonbridge, Kent
Architect: Nash Baker Architects
Main contractor: Stephens & James
Wood supplier: Eurban
CLT Manufacturer: Stora Enso Building Solutions
This contemporary eco-house sits harmoniously in the grounds of a traditional nineteenth century Oast house which has been the client’s home for 25 years. Designed for a Norwegian and British couple contemplating retirement and no longer wishing to look after such a large, high maintenance, property. The brief was for a new sustainable, accessible and flexible home that would be intimate enough for two, yet adaptable for large family occasions and visiting grandchildren therefore ensuring it would continue to serve the client’s needs for as long as necessary.
Conceived as a contemporary interpretation of the Kentish barn style with characteristic black timber cladding, the distinctive structure nestles into its surroundings. The two asymmetric barn-like wings lower towards the neighbouring boundaries, presenting gently sloping green sedum roofs facing the old Oast House, and a traditional 55 degree clay pitched roof to its nearest neighbour.
All spaces and views to and from the property have been channelled for maximum light and privacy, responding to natural sun patterns as well as the clients’ brief to create quieter sanctuaries away from the social areas of the house. The larger ‘living wing’ is perceived as a continuous extruded portal frame with glazed ends; boldly expressing the structure and helping to channel views within this long and narrow site. The smaller, ‘sleeping wing’ take a more modest and simple form. Dividing the two elements into distinct living and sleeping quarters, the central space serves as the main entrance to the house as well as a flexible dining space for large family get-togethers and parties. The intimate sheltered courtyard beyond is perfectly positioned to savour the evening light.
Nash Bake Architects sought to design a simple dwelling with expansive plains and
voluminous spaces which are easily legible both internally and externally. Cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels were the material of choice due to their structural, thermal, acoustic and aesthetic properties; allowing them to create large spans in a continuous visual grade material which is sensitive to the domestic scale and ontext.
Another important client consideration when selecting CLT was the reduced disruption to this quiet residential location. CLT helped reduced the construction time and site noise, as well as the number of deliveries of materials to and from site.
The pallet of material includes lime washed CLT ceilings and Dinesen Douglas Fir flooring. The off-white walls helps balance the use of timber, and provides a suitable backdrop for the owners’ eclectic art and furniture. The final result is a celebration of wood as a structural and visual material.