New House, Princes Risborough

A partially subterranean home built into the hillside.

This new, modern house was positioned within the hillside of its wonderful, sloping site, in order to maximise views.  Being located in the Green Belt and AONB we were limited on the area of house permissible above ground, and rather than dig down to form a basement, we made use of the natural topography of the site to create a single storey dwelling of around 5,500sqft, where half of it is below ground and not visible.

On plan, a stone wall divides the above and below ground elements.  Behind the wall, below ground, the building has been constructed in concrete to bear the load of the hillside, and in front of the wall, above ground, the construction is lightweight steel and glass, designed as a pavilion style structure.  The stone is also used on the chimney to anchor the house on its site and highlight the front entrance.

Part of our brief was to design a house that would not ‘shout’ or be particularly visible from the surrounding footpaths.  The flat roof, single storey structure goes some way to achieving this further reinforced by the careful choice of materials, including natural stone for the wall (the ground is predominantly chalk and the stone colour was selected to reflect this), black bricks and dark grey windows and fascias.

On plan, a curved concrete wall below ground, deflects groundwater away from the subterranean parts of the building, and serves to orientate the user when inside those rooms that do not have direct views outside.  Rooflights and internal windows all help ensure no rooms appear dark and most have a view to the outside.

Most of the roof is now a wildflower meadow as illustrated below.



Contractor: Manorgrove Homes

Structural Engineer: JNP Group (Chesham)

Windows and Doors: IQ Glass