The Welch House – Isle of Wight Residence

The Welch House, Isle of Wight Residence, England Architecture, News, Design, Property

The Welch House, UK : Isle of Wight Property

New Residential Development, England – design by The Manser Practice

17 Jan 2013

The Welch House, Isle of Wight

Isle of Wight, UK

Design: The Manser Practice

New Property on the Isle of Wight

The client, for whom we had previously designed a house in Nevada, wanted a modern four bedroom family house with large open plan living area, using the dramatic seaside site. There was a requirement to keep the cost of the house as low as reasonably possible.

The Welch House Isle of Wight
photo : Morley Von Sternberg

The house was designed to replace an existing shack on a steeply sloping site on a wooded foreshore. Ground conditions are notoriously unstable with blue slippery clay with rotating shelves underground. Foundations needed to be deeply piled and retained with soil nails and an early decision was to create a flat stable platform for a simple ‘box’ house raised on legs above the ground. This allowed for the simplest possible below ground solution, reduced the area of house that ‘touched’ the ground, avoided the need for complex and expensive multi level changes within the house whilst raising it ‘tree house’ like amongst the trees.

An initial design with the building on steel framed legs proved too expensive so a compact tear shaped concrete tube was created on 30m deep piles with 30m long raking soil nails containing utility room and shower room on top of which was placed a simple steel framed two storey box. This contains, on the ground floor, the entrance and the bedrooms and on the first floor, a study and the living / kitchen area.

The building is clad in cement particle board rain screen cladding painted with a marine high gloss enamel. The whole building is designed on a 1200 x 1200 x 1200 grid.

The Welch House Isle of Wight The Welch House Isle of Wight The Welch House Isle of Wight
photos : Morley Von Sternberg

After a protracted planning application process (3 years) involving research on the site going back to the middle of the 19th Century and negotiations with the Environment Agency the problems of physical construction on site were addressed with the complex concrete construction below ground, tying the building into the more stable bedrock 30m below ground level, and difficult access.

The building is designed to have a small as possible physical footprint on the ground and for the house itself to appear to float within the trees as a simple, polished black box.

Internally finishes are clean, simple and economic. For reasons of economy all glazing is fixed and ventilation and cross ventilation is provided by a series of floor level opening panels and roof lights.

The Welch House Isle of Wight The Welch House Isle of Wight The Welch House Isle of Wight
photos : Morley Von Sternberg

The lightweight steel and timber two storey ‘box’ of the house is roofed using timber self spanning insulated panels (SIPS) and the cladding to the building gives gentle reflections of all the enveloping surrounding trees.

The construction time, including ground works, was 18 months.

The Welch House Isle of Wight
photo : Jonathan Manser

The Welch House – Building Information

Date of Occupation: January 2009.
Awards: RIBA Award 2010

Image Credits:
Morley Von Sternberg is the photographer of all the images, except the portrait image entitled ‘North Elevation, overlooking The Solent’ which is by the practice.

Contributors;
Structural Engineer : Elliot Wood Partnership
Contractor: John Peck Construction Ltd
Ground Stability & Substructure: Malcolm Woodruff Associates
Steel Frame: DMR Engineering (I.W) Limited
Glazing / Doors: Scandinavian Window Systems Ltd

TThe Welch House image / information received from The Manser Practice


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