Zion's Hill

Adrian James Architects

The location is delightful: on the fringe of a Cotswolds village with sweeping views. But the existing building, an amalgam of two tiny 18th century stone cottages and a self-built 1950’s extension, was simply not good enough. The brief was to perform a compete reboot and reimagination.

We could have proposed demolition and a whole new house but that doesn’t wash now; we must keep what we can. Instead, we delivered a radical retrofit, creating a home fit for lifetime occupancy with a hugely reduced carbon footprint. The cottages were within a Conservation Area and had both charm and heritage value. The new extension needed to connect in a manner which was natural and seamless but in which both parts of the building had their own character contemporary to their own time, creating internal spaces to suit modern living and making an envelope which was thermally robust. The design is something which grows naturally from the old with a twist in the DNA, so it is similar but skewed - in spirit and literally. It has a form which is quirky and sculptural outside, creating similarly quirky spaces inside. The result is a design which sets up conversation rather than confrontation between the old and the new. And the new is as much in tune with the natural setting and natural order as the old. In a modest way the house is a model for the sensitive but radical retrofit of houses which will hugely reduce their carbon footprint.