Finalist in Structural Timber Awards 2020
Criss Cross House
An addition to a C19 farm workers cottage in the Hertfordshire Green Belt. The isolated rural location affords the site uninterrupted views to the flat line of the distant horizon on three sides. These powerful views form the organisation of the addition which forms a link between the existing house and a detached outbuilding.
The project is defined by the placement of two very simple elements that echo the basic barn like forms of rural architecture; a modest box inserted into the original house and a horizontal plane linking to the outbuilding. The surface of these two components is articulated by alternating ribbons of black timber cladding which embrace the existing structures and creates punctures to form a series of vistas and connections in both directions.
The front of the house immediately abuts crop fields and these are uninterrupted until the distant horizon. The rear of the house has a large mature garden that is carefully planted to permit views through to the distant horizon across the open fields.
The ground floor side, rear and internal walls to the existing house are carved out to create, with the new addition, a wide panoramic living space to transform the modest cellar spaces of the original cottage.
The new addition is formed with a softwood timber structure and incorporates a lightweight plywood roof constructed from a 12mm ply waffle structure. The alternating vertical and horizontal external black cladding is created using the highly durable Japanese Yakisugi technique to char wood.