Substation House.

Bespoke home, Carnoustie

Project – New build dwelling

Client – Private Client

Contract Value - undisclosed

Description

 

This truly bespoke dwelling was brought about through one of the most unique and challenging sites in our bespoke home portfolio – and consequently one of the most rewarding to design.


The site existed a large vacant and overgrown tract of land located immediately opposite a large picturesque park (Carnoustie House Grounds) on Yeaman Street in Carnoustie. The plot, already carrying its own address having once had a house on the site, had excellent 180 degrees views overlooking the expanse of parkland to the North and excellent linkage to the town centre.

Although the site was in a much sought after setting, is was bordered to the South by residential gardens and lay in close proximity between two existing properties. The Yeman Street frontage, which would be the primary façade, also had a with small electricity substation sited at the entrance to the plot. Not ones to be put off by site constraints, we realised some inspired creative thinking would be required.


Our thinking was that the proposed dwelling house offered the prospect to subtly reinstate the streetscape (removing the unsightly gap site) without attracting deviating from the character and nature of the street. It could provide an innovative and unique architectural home, designed to acknowledge and enhance its site constraints, rather than in spite of them.


Our proposals sought to actively and innovatively re-instate the current void. The final design utilized a number of architectural conventions in an attempt to create an appropriate street presence - to appear as a continuation of the existing housing stock i.e. an intervention belonging to existing housing, in an attempt to integrate fully with the existing context. In effect to establish a sense of the project ‘belonging’ within its setting and seemingly having always been there. A great deal of care was been taken to consider this street presence - the balance between achieving a robust visual marker, whilst respecting the existing properties and providing a sense of privacy and amenity to the proposed home.
After sketching ideas and producing various design options, we came up with plans for a very modestly proportioned 3 bedroom family home, almost entirely one storey in height. A reinstatement of the street presence to Yeaman Street would be established with the robust planted ‘axis wall’  (that would continue uninterrupted throughout the full length of the house) and architectural canopy over the ‘driveway’ area to demarcate the space. The main footprint of the building was sited forward towards Yeaman Street, continuing the flow of existing buildings and negating potential issues with overshadowing of neighbouring properties.


The 2 storey elements to the scheme were been carefully considered to exist only as a small ‘pop-ups’ to the building envelope; this was in order to glean the excellent views to the parkland to north for two bedroom spaces, whilst keeping the 1 storey roofline profile of the street. Positioning the primary windows here also meant that there would be no overlooking of the residential properties to the south and the consequent privacy issues that may have arisen.


The man living spaces break from the mass of the main building and extend south as a long 1 storey glazed element. This was designed with large glazed openable wall panels, to make the most of the South West facing aspect. These would also form a strong linkage with the proposed walled garden, attempting to blur the distinction between inside-outside spaces. All of the spaces were planned the central ‘axis wall’ to enables direct views through from the end of the garden, some 40 metres North to the parkland beyond. All the inhabited spaces were articulated from this central axis, including the open stair, which was designed to offer glimpses of the parkland a first floor level.


The vertical ‘slot’ which borders the axis wall, was designed to house a floating staircase; this was then to be obscured at the South with the use of horizontal aluminium fins in-front of the glass. Similarly the glazed element to the Study area used obscure glazing with timber battens over for privacy. The architectural detailing was drawn from the context of the plot – ‘Substation House’; and attempted to reference this element in a number of ways through its materiality and articulation.


A tranquil and private front garden was proposed, using a new light grey brick wall directly behind the substation. This also enabled the footprint to be brought further forward and accentuate the long linear living space to the rear. With the living areas being single storey, no overshadowing could occur to neighbouring properties.


We are now in the process of producing the Building Standards drawing package, whilst working with the client to develop up detailed cabinetry drawings for the internal spaces. This is another example of how a seemingly impossible site can present an opportunity to create exciting and unique architecture.

 

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