Case House

Ström Architects

: Photography by Richard Chivers

Our client was a fan of modernist mid-century homes, having fallen in love with their simplicity, elegance, functionality, and honesty, during a trip to Palm Springs. On returning, she decided to replace a tired 1960s bungalow with a home that takes cues from the modernist style, but with a contemporary, minimal feel.

The narrow urban plot is hemmed-in by a busy road and taller buildings around it. It sits within Tivoli, a designated Character Area in Cheltenham’s Conservation Area; planning dictated that the project must be of high architectural quality, and not adversely affect the nearby buildings. We designed a series of garden rooms – buffer zones, courtyards, additional garden walls, water features etc, to break up the long site and provided layers of privacy to the house. The building itself is two simple rectangles in plan, and it sits low, with just a discreet roof plane peeking above the boundary walls. This ensures that it has a minimal impact on the surroundings, and maintains privacy for the client. The overhanging roof planes echo the mid-century modern aesthetic, provide shading to the large areas of glazing, and protect the interior from views from neighbours. Combined with the garden walls, they also serve to focus and crop views; from within, you do not see the surrounding urban development, you are simply aware of the courtyards and the sky. The overall feeling is that of a very calm and neutral house, that marries Palm Springs Modern with minimalism.