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The Haven

The site’s location means that it lies on one of the most important wildlife corridors in the country for some of our rarest birds, mammals, reptiles and insects. The site lies to the south of the 200 Hectare Nature Reserve, established in 1995.
The Haven brings together a singular design and a beautiful, secluded lake and the need to deal with flood risk, with the opportunity to create a habitat for some of our most precious wildlife.
This combination of architecture, water and habitat makes for an exceptional and inventive design on a site that sits in a prime ecological position surrounded on all sides by nationally important nature reserves: the New Forest to the east; Blashford Lakes to the north; and the River Avon Valley to the west.

Our concept combined the design of the house that would deal with intermittent flooding with the opportunities to make substantial improvements to the landscape and ecology of the site and lake, to make a home for not just the occupants but also a habitat for wildlife.

On ecology, we improve aquatic ecology – introduce suitable fish species. Improve water edges to create habitats for waders. Create interconnected habitats between lakes. Improve native flora and diversity. Build tern rafts.

For the landscape, improvements to the biodiversity of the existing woodland habitats and meadows around the site, together with creating naturalistic planting around the immediate setting of the house.

For the design of the house, we looked obliquely towards ancient precedents of buildings that occupy lakeside locations, from the floating places of Hangzhou, to Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House in Illinois.

Two linear pavilions, clad in a whitened timber and raised up on stilts provide living and sleeping spaces respectively, while garage, entrance hall and ancillary rooms sit beneath and are brick faced. The intent is to have a house that appears to be weightless, that floats above the water.

The house will power itself from water source heat pumps, powered by rooftop photovoltaics to be close to carbon neutral.

Client Ian & Helen McGrath
Status Ongoing
GIA m2 495 m2
Planning consultant Pro Vision
Landscape architect BD Landscape
Ecology PV Ecology
Sustainability Consultant Kingshaw
Project Architect Pete Humphry
Photography © nu.ma
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