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Lord Congleton Award

Kite House, Shute End, Alderbury 

Kite House is very close to the river Avon, with terrific views across it and the water meadows beyond, to the distant cathedral. Any new house needed to take full advantage of this, and the judges felt this had been done, to a quite exceptional degree. Photos showed a previous red brick house which had failed to respond to the site, but no such accusation could be levelled at the new one. It has three wings at similar but not identical angles to each other, one shorter than the others. All their roofs slope down to the junction point. The materials are the same for all the wings – timber boards, in a grey hue, for both the main walls and the roofs, a buff-coloured brick for lower walls where the ground drops, and plenty of glass where appropriate. The two longer wings share similar elevational treatments, with the often full height windows set back from the eaves, allowing for balconies, and preventing over-heating in the summer. One of these wings creates one undivided living area, outstandingly spacious and light, while the other one has bedrooms. Below it the falling ground level enables a lower ground floor, for guest accommodation. The shorter wing contains a garage, though one would hardly know it, with just a faint line in the cladding betraying its presence. Throughout the house the thought given to each aspect of design is on display.  Ventilation is enabled by full height sliding panels of glass which can be locked in a minimally open position, with no risk to security, and in the kitchen area a granite worktop subtly tapers, picking up on the shape of the plan form of all the wings. The judges’ overall verdict was that this was a house which was hard to fault. It makes the most of a splendid site, with its daring triple wing plan form giving full rein to the unashamedly contemporary design approach, along the way generating high quality views both inwards and outwards, and splendid living spaces. This was, the judges felt, just the sort of outstanding building which the Lord Congleton Award had been set up to recognise.


Architects: AR Design Studio, Winchester


Photo: Martin Gardner