Nestled in the heart of the rolling hills of the Cotswolds and surrounded by woodland lies Found Associates’ impeccably finished private residence. Forming an inviting rural escape which feels is tucked away in a secret valley, the firm has beautifully married historical elements that act as an integral part of the building with modern additions of pavilions that dramatically extend the living space and add a unique contemporary touch. The final result is a spectacular design, showcasing an innovative take on inter-connected pavilions which seamlessly blend in with the surrounding landscape. Having won a RIBA National Award for this truly awe-inspiring architectural masterpiece, we just had to know more about how Found Associates managed to execute this project so flawlessly.
How was Found Associates born?
Found was born initially out of retail design for clients such as Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Selfridges and Givenchy. Within no time we quickly found ourselves working in the residential sector due to retail CEOs requesting that we design their country or London homes.
As an architecture and interiors firm you are globally recognised for your powerful simplicity – can you elaborate more on how this aesthetic is seen across your projects?
The simplicity starts with a very considered spatial exercise, the result of which ensures that we are incorporating our clients requirements and answering their brief. In every project we try and maximise natural daylight wherever possible and always look to deliver an intelligent special solution.
What is the story behind your spectacular private residence project in the Cotswolds?
The planners ‘spot listed’ the cottage so our challenge was to design a link and extension that sat sympathetically alongside the 18th century games keeper’s cottage. Originally on site there were a series of out-buildings made up of chicken runs, aviaries and disused garages. We demolished all the redundant out-buildings and totaled the square footage which gave us the size of the extension.
How did you manage to combine historical aspects of the Grade II listed cottage with modern additions of single-storey pavilions so effortlessly?
We introduced a glazed link which separates the old from new. We used a fair faced concrete for the interior finishes that tonally matches the original Cotswolds stone of the cottage. We set the additional building back from the cottage so that the cottage still remained the dominant feature on the site.
What was the biggest challenge throughout the project?
We had freezing temperatures during construction which often prevented us from pouring the concrete. Concrete should not be poured when the air temperature is below three degrees. Due to the steep incline of the drive, we also had problems with the concrete lorries unable to exit site. Often we needed to use a tractor to come to their aid.
Do you have a favourite pocket inside the home?
I love the view from the main reception space down to the lake. Standing beneath the 23 metre canter-levered ceiling (and roof terrace) – no columns to obscure the view, feels like you’re almost standing in the landscape itself.
How do you see architecture developing in the next decade? Any specific trends or movements developing or gaining popularity?
With an increasing number of people working part-time from home, the ‘home office’ is becoming more and more important. It’s location within the house and the quality of the space need careful consideration. It can no longer double over as a spare bedroom and the need for isolation within a busy household is often a challenge. The ‘home office’ ideally needs a view and no longer can be the ‘box room’ because of the number of hours one potentially finds oneself working per day in the same space.
Architecturally I believe that the planners today at last are granting planning permission for contemporary designs in the countryside as opposed to only allowing pastiches of period styles. The restrictions Stroud District Council imposed on the site actually resulted in a scheme that won Found Associates a RIBA award. It was perhaps one of our most challenging and yet rewarding projects in our residential portfolio. It has only increased our desire to design contemporary properties of a standard that we and our clients will be proud of.