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Modern House Treehouse

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Modern House Treehouse

Cambridge | England
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Magnus Nilsson
Architect
Magnus Nilsson
"Due to the enclosed nature of the site, windows are carefully placed to provide long uninterrupted vistas, lending an unexpected carefully choreographed sense of grandness to the otherwise spatially efficiently planned house."
 
 

House data

External Dimensions 18.20 x 8.20 m
Living Space 2.150 ft²

Additional information

modern House Treehouse

 

Modern architect-designed house with country-specific design elements

 
The new-build house is located on a backland site in central Cambridge. The site is relatively small and entirely surrounded by buff-coloured brick-clad Victorian terraces and their back gardens.
 
Given its sensitive context the house is conceived as a compact box that, through its compactness, maximises the distance away from the site boundaries whilst increasing available amenity space. As a result, amenity space has been optimised towards the south, providing the residents with a sunlit usable outdoor space, whilst – at the same time – minimising the impact caused by overshadowing the adjacent site immediately to the north.
 
The internal organisation of the house is intertwined with its immediate context. On ground floor, social spaces such as dining room, living room are located, all with access to the south-facing front garden. Service spaces such as utility, kitchen and pantry are located to the north. On the first floor the spatial organisation is mirrored. Service spaces such as Bath/WCs, linen and dressing rooms are located towards the southern façade of the house. Windows in these rooms are mostly placed above eye-level and all with translucent glass. The bedrooms are facing towards the north where overlooking is less of a concern. The south-facing window in the study on first floor is designed as an oriel window, blocking the view towards the south and directing it towards the approach to the site. Due to the enclosed nature of the site, windows are carefully placed to provide long uninterrupted vistas, lending an unexpected carefully choreographed sense of grandness to the otherwise spatially efficiently planned house.
 
Due to its environmental credentials timber was chosen as cladding material. The context is however dominated by buff coloured brick-clad Victorian terraces. The central idea, therefore, was to make the timber cladding appear to be brick-like. Through strong horizontal striations and leaving the timber untreated it was intended to lend the light timber cladding a strong presence and gravity akin to a heavy brick façade.
 
The house is designed as an eco-friendly, low energy house for healthy living. It is constructed by Baufritz using Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) and off-site prefabricated closed wall and roof panels, which will be erected in less than 3 days, minimising disruption to neighbours and site wastage. Thermal insulation values are roughly twice current UK standards and all windows are triple-glazed. Only non-chemical natural materials have been used throughout. The timber used for construction is logged from certified sustainable forests. The shell is 100% biodegradable and can be completely returned to nature.