img(height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=2939831959404383&ev=PageView&noscript=1")

Eavesdrop, West Sussex

Words:
Regional Awards Jury

‘We are bathed in peacefulness, tranquility, calmness, and restfulness’: says a happy client of their 2024 RIBA South East Award-winning home for their third age, designed by Tom Dowdall Architects with LCE Architects

Eavesdrop. Rory Gardiner
Eavesdrop. Rory Gardiner


2024 RIBA South East Award

Eavesdrop, West Sussex
Tom Dowdall Architects with LCE Architects for private client
Contract value: Confidential 
GIA: 411m2

This beautifully crafted house was built in the grounds of the client’s former family home in Sussex, which was sold to finance this more sustainable and suitable accommodation as the occupants grow older. All on one floor, it has level thresholds throughout. It centres on a generous landscaped courtyard while also taking advantage of the stunning garden views from bedrooms. The roof rises dramatically to form a generous living space and, with its overhang, creates interest in the exterior form. There is consistency throughout, with the same materials as the building used for some internal furniture. A model of the original 2015 design impressed the jury with how much of the concept had been retained. The architect’s first significant project, it is testament to the power of having a great idea and being supported by the client, encouraged by the design team, and enabled by the contractors and all other stakeholders. 

  • Eavesdrop. Rory Gardiner
    Eavesdrop. Rory Gardiner
  • Eavesdrop. Rory Gardiner
    Eavesdrop. Rory Gardiner
  • Eavesdrop. Rory Gardiner
    Eavesdrop. Rory Gardiner
  • Eavesdrop. Rory Gardiner
    Eavesdrop. Rory Gardiner
1234

The scheme gained planning permission in 2017 and was completed in August 2022. The brief was for a home that required less maintenance than the clients’ previous house and that could easily ‘open up’ to entertain friends or host family. It also specified that the gardens needed to be more manageable and accessible in their retirement – and, crucially, that the home should belong in the landscape. The jury was impressed with the informality of the house, with glimpsed views across the courtyard providing visual contact yet enabling privacy.

From a distance, the house looks stunning in its setting, fitting into its newly established site. Close up, the beauty of its detailing is revealed. The stone is treated differently on flat walls and in reveals – a detail the planning authority encouraged. This gives a subtlety to the simple forms.

Sustainability is carefully considered but also evaluated against current capital costs. The house is triple-glazed throughout, and is heated by a small, efficient gas boiler. The design takes account of plans to add more sustainable systems in the future: for instance, the roof detailing has been conceived with the later installation of photovoltaic arrays in mind.

  • Eavesdrop. Rory Gardiner
    Eavesdrop. Rory Gardiner
  • Eavesdrop. Rory Gardiner
    Eavesdrop. Rory Gardiner
  • Eavesdrop. Rory Gardiner
    Eavesdrop. Rory Gardiner
  • Eavesdrop. Rory Gardiner
    Eavesdrop. Rory Gardiner
  • Eavesdrop. Rory Gardiner
    Eavesdrop. Rory Gardiner
12345

The project team of contractors and subcontractors was managed by the architect during the Covid 19 pandemic, which kept the quality high but had an impact on the budget and the programme. Nevertheless, the client is delighted with the outcome, commenting: ‘Our retirement home is heavenly. It is warm in winter, cool in summer, comfortable, on one level, and wheelchair-friendly throughout with no ledges, steps, or thresholds. We are bathed in peacefulness, tranquillity, calmness, and restfulness.’

See the rest of the RIBA South East winners hereAnd all the RIBA Regional Awards here

To see the whole RIBA Awards process visit architecture.com

RIBA Regional Awards 2024 sponsored by EH Smith and Autodesk

Credits

Structural engineer Richard Dowdall 
Environmental/M&E engineer Enhabit – now QODA Consulting, AMA Consult

 

Credit: Tom Dowdall Architects
Credit: Tom Dowdall Architects
Credit: Tom Dowdall Architects
Credit: Tom Dowdall Architects
Credit: Tom Dowdall Architects

Latest articles

Webinar: Addressing Onsite Safety using Fall Protection Systems

  1. Products

Webinar: Addressing Onsite Safety using Fall Protection Systems

PiP Design for Sustainability Webinar 2024

  1. Products

PiP Design for Sustainability Webinar 2024