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Withdean Road Houses

The site lies on a hillside to the northern edge of Brighton and is within an affluent residential district enjoying views south across the city to the sea and east across the South Downs.
The development of three detached houses for the open market was founded on a brief to create high quality, contemporary homes without recourse to the rather clichéd zinc roof and white rendered modernist designs not uncommon in Brighton – while also making a family of houses that also assert a subtle individuality.

A grey brick base contains entrance, service accommodation, a day room to enjoy the garden and bedrooms – this extends down the sloping site to a lower floor at the rear providing additional bedroom spaces.

The upper floors are timber-clad ‘boxes’ that perch on top of the masonry presenting modest narrow frontage to the street while extending back into the site to contain the main living spaces – study, utility, kitchen, dining and living room. The living space opens out onto a roof terrace at first floor level that is in turn faced to the southern side by an open metal-clad structure that frames the distant sea views.

While seen as a coherent group, each house is given individuality by subtle changes to fenestration to the street front, and the upper timber ‘boxes’ are in a different coloured stains, based on a palette of natural autumnal colours. Once completed, the locals gave it the name of ‘The Traffic Lights’, something that had not occurred to us!

Each house has an efficient gas condensing boiler set at the lower ground floor level venting through the chimney that rises up from the base to connect to the timber ‘boxes’ and anchor the house to its site. This is supplemented by rooftop solar thermal arrays which combined with a highly insulated and airtight construction, make the houses highly sustainable.

Client Baobab Developments
Status Completed (2016)
Contract value £2,000,000
GIA m2 1,275 m2
Landscape architect Nick Dexter
Contractor Natterjack Construction
Photography © Richard Chivers

RIBA South-East Award 2017
Sussex Heritage Trust Award 2017

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