The client called for a tranquil yet playful place, full of natural texture, contrasts, and indigenous materials. BPR created an entrance sequence which commences in a circular stone entrance court, extends along a pergola into an inner court bounded by a ruined wall and through the house to a roof terrace where a stair bridges into the landscape.
The house is divided into a family wing and a guest wing linked by a barrel vaulted dining hall centred on the ruin entrance. The barrel vaulted hall opens at each end onto courtyards which receive sun in the morning and evening. The form of the dining hall is like a foudre wine barrel and reflects the clients love of wine. The circular glazed stair ascends to the roof terrace.
Downley House is constructed of timber elements prefabricated in Swizerland and erected over a two month period. The family and guest wings are constructed of cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels and the barrel vault is made of a CLT timber shell and glue lam ribs. The low-embodied energy of the construction, the efficient envelope, ground source heat pump and heat recovery system create a highly sustainable and energy efficient building.
(Photography by Nick Kane. Via Contemporist)