Sweet-chestnut clad house floats across the site as a strong, single, linear form
RIBA National Award winner 2021
RIBA South Award winner 2021
John Pardey Architects for private client
Contract value: undisclosed
Narula sits on a stunning plot on a bend in the River Thames near Walden. Accessed from a long private road, it is the third house in the vicinity by John Pardey Architects. The plot sits in flood zone 3b and floods periodically up to 1.2m. As a reminder of this the dinghy is on show in the under croft of the house, waiting.
On a summer’s day, the shade of the undercroft offers a cool repose from the heat. The river is always present – people in boats bob past regularly. An external steel staircase appears both elegant and durable, akin to that for embarking a ship. The crafted front door opens into an extremely long corridor. An elevated box, the house is split between the living and sleeping wings to create a partly covered courtyard space. Given the difficult physical connection to the garden below, this is a welcome move which allows the client to be in the landscape and enjoy the setting.
An elegant long form has open plan living/dining and cooking to the eastern end, with all the sleeping accommodation and bathrooms to the western end. Pardey first designed the house to be flipped in orientation but client Charlotte Narula insisted on having a morning terrace and view at breakfast. Narula – the daughter of Gerald Beech who won House of the Year in 1960 – has furnished this home beautifully and her imprint is evident; from the bespoke bronze door handle to colour themed bedrooms, her touch enhances the architecture, and the building feels lived in and homely.