Tom Dowdall Architects

: Structural Engineer - Richard Dowdall

Eavesdrop is a Paragraph 80, single storey house that has been designed for my parents as their retirement home.

It is located in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and has a gross internal floor area of 4,400 sqft. It has four bedrooms, a study and a large open plan living area all wrapping around an open courtyard. All habitable rooms have direct access to the outside. It has been planned with flexibility in mind and is completely wheelchair friendly. The design was to be not only comfortable, highly energy efficient, and to place wellbeing at its core but also for the home to be part of the landscape. The form and structural logic of the house draws reference from the simple agricultural buildings of the High Weald, with their sweeping, often sunken roofs, and simplicity of construction. At the centre of the house, and conceived as the most important ‘room’ of the house, is the courtyard. A room with plants to be appreciated all year round. The courtyard is fully openable with large sliding glazing on all four corners, offering cross ventilation on the hottest summer days and an alternative way to move through the house. Due to the complexity of the roof form, the majority of the structural elements were fabricated off-site based on a 3D model. Considering the large volume of the building, detailing and workmanship required the upmost care to achieve the airtightness target set out by QODA Consulting. The design followed Passivhaus principles.