The scheme gained pre-application support from Waverley Borough Council who praised the design as an "exceptional architectural building".
Para. 55 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) allows dwellings to be built in the countryside outside development boundaries in special circumstances, including 'the exceptional quality or innovative nature of the design.'
The site is in an Area of Great Landscape Value (AGLV), within the setting of the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). A design priority was to minimise any impact on the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape.
The dwelling is designed to appear as an organic landform, like a layer of strata within a rock outcrop. The dwelling is encased within a large sedum roof, which acts as a lush canopy enveloping the habitable spaces beneath it. The sedum roof and retaining stone wall are natural features used to blend the dwelling with its surroundings.
The single storey form of the building nestles into a natural bowl formed by the relief of the land at the site. The dwelling is seen to almost submerge into the sloping ground, which uses the topography that exists to create a northern retaining fieldstone wall to the dwelling. This, in combination with the sedum roof creates very minimal visual impact within the site and protects the high landscape quality of the area.
ECA architects and planners have also designed a landscaping scheme to compliment the proposals. This incorporates native species of trees and plants to assist with integrating the scheme with its natural setting and promote biodiversity at the site.
ECA have worked closely with our client, who has been committed to a contemporary designed, low impact proposal from the start. We have worked up concept proposals at various stages, taking into account the accommodation requirements, as well as the need to respond to environmental considerations such as trees, ecology and flooding. As award winning architects we are committed to the highest quality of design, innovation and sustainable building techniques.