A 21st century country home: this is the best definition of this project by architects James Wright and Niall Maxwell of Macdonald Wright Architects. Caring Wood, designed for a large family spanning three generations, is a modern home with deep connections to the traditional rural architecture of Kent. The construction is designed to be both flexible and sustainable, and to grow as the owners’ large family grows over the years. The most important challenge the architects faced was making a 1400 sqm construction look like a simple country cottage .
Their starting point was the traditional cottage shape typical in rural homes, which in James Wright and Niall Maxwell’s project becomes the starting point for generating a more complex form, consisting of four towers around a central courtyard and living spaces set partly into the hill. The towers form a part of the home’s passive energy strategy, helping to keep it cool in summer. Rural architectural traditions also inspired the choice of materials. The hand-made clay tiles covering the roof are an example of the high degree of hand craftsmanship featured in the project, helping to reinforce the link with the local area through the choice of colours and materials.
Caring Wood is one of the projects shortlisted for the 2017 RIBA House of the Year Award, to be presented on November 28, 2017.