James Macdonald Wright et Niall Maxwell : Caring Wood

In the heart of a Kent meadow (England), funny turrets grip. Designed by architects James Macdonald Wright and Niall Maxwell, they belong to a house that houses three generations of the same family who hijacks the codes of oast houses, vernacular constructions of the south-west of the country.

Partly embedded in a south-facing slope, the 1 400 square-meter building is spread over two levels and is home to a couple, their three daughters and their husbands and children. In the center of this house: a square main room with common areas - dining room, kitchen and library - located on the ground floor, pierced by a majestic double-height glazed patio. At the south, east and west corners, three underground galleries lead to as many two-storey 90 pavilions at 130 square meters, where the young households reside. The north corner is entirely occupied by the deans of the family who have their own living room and their bedroom. Friands of music, the latter asked the British architects, to arrange over these collective areas, a music room open on the atrium, which can accommodate fifty people.


In addition to the management of intergenerational cohabitation, the project managers approached the project from the point of view of critical regionalism, the fundamental idea of ​​which is to create contemporary buildings while reappropriating vernacular and regional building codes. from the original site. They were inspired by the shape and materiality of oast houses, these steeply pitched buildings, very present in the county of Kent, south-west of England, whose function was to dry and leather hops.

The book thus exposes a strongly inclined cover camouflaged imposing wells of light, which illuminate the dwellings of the various family units and the shared living places of the ground floor. In addition, echoing local materials, the lower zone of the building, its base, is dressed with limestone from Maidstone, county seat. The superstructure is covered with more than 150 000 raw earth tiles from Sussex in the south of the country.

An unusual achievement, whose audacity was recently rewarded by the Royal Institute of British Architects, and its award of the House of the Year Award 2017.

To learn more, visit James Macdonald Wright's website et Niall Maxwell

photographs: James Morris

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