Cooksbridge Station House , Cooksbridge , LEWES , East Sussex , BN8 4SW , United Kingdom
After an extensive feasibility study which involved close discussions with the planning department at Chichester District Council, the starting brief had to be reigned back in terms of the number of bedrooms which could be achieved and the new southern extension went from a two storey proposal to a single storey. Thus the Clients sensibly reconsidered how they would live in the house, how family and guests would stay and in so doing opted for well-proportioned spaces over the urge to cram too much in. The house was typical of many older cottages in Sussex with compact spaces and very low ceilings, particularly over the first floor where the sloping ceilings significantly interfered with headroom. It had undergone some alterations and extension over the years with an unsympathetic long dormer facing the drive, a lean-to side extension and a white painted timber clad kitchen extension with a flat roof added in the 1960’s. It also had two outbuildings in the form of a large shed and a garage. The client’s starting brief was to rationalise the amount of built volume to create a larger house, as the garage and shed were no longer needed and the rather stark flat roofed extension, the poorly conceived lean-to extension and the long flat roof dormer would be rebuilt with more sympathetic additions. The location of the house is stunning. Set within the small village of Compton, its garden and adjoining field expand south and opens out to broad views of the South Downs. This made the architectural handling of any new built form subject to particularly close scrutiny. The proposition had to be considered for its contribution to the context. Distant views from the Downs had to be taken into consideration and in particular the high sensitivity to any change in visual impact. Although the sixties extension was relatively small, its shape and white colour made it stand out from the village setting. The new proposal adopted an asymmetrical pitch to optimise the potential energy harnessing of solar panels and vertical timber cladding in natural finish, the colours of which recede into the general patina of the village.