James Grayley Architects

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Hidden House

Private Client, Bath, 2018

A new build dwelling in a Unesco World Heritage Site

Located on the outskirts of the City of Bath, on the south facing slopes of a valley overlooking the River Avon, this small infill site is currently occupied by a series of garages built in the late 1960s.

The surrounding Victorian and Edwardian urban fabric is characterised by robust, well proportioned terraces and villas. Set amongst this formal grain, a series of nearby mews allow glimpses of the less rigid rear elevations of these urban set pieces, rubble stone walls and a varied selection of small outbuildings.

The proposed house is intended to sit amongst these smaller scale, informal mews structures. The landlocked nature of the site has generated designs for a modest three bedroom courtyard dwelling, with the main living areas ranged around a series of new landscaped spaces. The steeply sloping topography of the site is exploited, allowing the proposed single storey house to be largely hidden from view, and to maintain a subservient relationship with the surrounding villas.

With a robust simple massing, the delight in the design is derived from the use of a high quality Bath ashlar stone cladding, generously scaled and deeply recessed windows and elegant timber fenestration.