Vernacular oast house reimagined as family home in contemporary interpretation of the traditional
RIBA South East Award winner 2021
Acme space for private client
Contract value: undisclosed
ACME has reimagined the vernacular oast house for hop drying to create a new home for a young family. On the ground floor, kitchen and sitting room come off a triple-height atrium that links all the spaces, while spare bedroom, study, bathroom and utility room are concealed behind curved walls. On the first floor, a double height living room is framed by the arched geometry of the intersection of two cones. Bedrooms in each of the three remaining roundels each have their own en-suite, dressing and play space with small internal stairs leading to a gallery level. Here sleeping platforms are nestled in the double height void of the cone, which opens to the sky with a small oculus.
The scheme, based in the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, was approved at committee stage after extensive engagement with the local community. The plot was determined to be a brownfield site and the proposal considered an improvement on the stables and menage – which the office had maintained did not qualify as an existing structure. They felt the application would improve an untidy site. Thorough liaison with the fabricator resulted in vertical walls of the structure being clad in prefabricated panels, while the roof was stick-assembled on site and supported off a steel ring-beam. The process of construction was an exchange between contractors and architect, working within the palette of their traditional craft, pushed to manifest a design which is a contemporary interpretation of the traditional oast.