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Morgan House

Located in the picturesque village of Arkesden in Essex, some five miles south of Saffron Walden, this site occupies the former garden of a large house.

Situated on rising ground and on the footprint of an existing swimming pool, the new ‘L’-shaped house enjoys distant views over hills to the south.

The brief called for a swimming pool, but as the site is quite narrow it meant that the pool would have to sit within the garden behind the house and so would be shaded by trees – we therefore created a house that wraps a south-west facing courtyard containing the pool. The ground floor is formed in an earth-coloured brick, while the upper floor is timber-clad.

A narrow 2-storey wing runs alongside the courtyard and contains bedrooms and bathrooms, an upper, south-facing day room as well as a small changing room for the pool and a study overlooking the approach driveway.

Arriving at the back of the house, the building straddles the site closing off the courtyard ­ at ground floor, now sunken into the rising site, lies a gym and master bedroom suite, while upstairs is the open plan main living space, with distant views southwards while to back of the space opens onto the garden and dining deck. From the garden the house appears as a black timber-clad, single-storey form.

The ground floor bedrooms all open onto the enclosed pool court – a slice of Palm Springs in the north-west corner of Essex – the courtyard itself is partially planted in tall grasses, while a built-in kitchen lies behind a pair of doors for entertaining.

As the house runs back into the site it sits within a retaining-walled structure, so the entrance opens into the main circulation route which is some 2 metres wide allowing for an upper floor gallery and a double-height, top-lit space for an indoor vertical garden.

A brick chimney combined with a woodburning stove in the living room, provides a full-stop to the building.

The house is a slender steel framed structure, infilled with timber framing and insulation, all bearing on a concrete retaining structure.

The house is heated by an air source heat pump located in the adjoining garage structure, powered by PV panels set upon the upper roof.

Client David & Saima Morgan
Status In planning
Contract value £Confidential
GIA m2 324 m2
Landscape architect Rutrecht + Kimberley
Ecology Cherryfield Ecology
Arboriculturalist GHA Trees
Project Team Amy Cuthbertson, Chris Gray
Photography © nu.ma
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