Ode to a willow tree
We were asked to design a new 4,500 ft contemporary home in Cowley, Gloucestershire, taking in sweeping views of the Cotswold countryside. Retaining the beautiful willow tree at the centre of the site was a prerequisite, and creating an energy-efficient home was also high on the agenda.
Meeting the client’s brief within the limitations of the original 1960s bungalow, which was poorly positioned on the site, was not possible and meant we needed to consider a complete rebuild. The weeping willow tree within its grounds was to serve as the inspiration for the house, requiring careful treatment and clever design to incorporate it into the property.
Our design for the new house neatly blends contemporary design with traditional materials and nestles into the hill, gently stepping up to respond to the contours and topography of the site. An 80-foot curved wall wraps the house around the central weeping willow tree and its beautiful surroundings.
The curved building is designed around open plan living spaces with large expanses of glass to take in the views, and is faced in locally sourced Cotswold stone. It is not only considerate of its environment but is also one of the most sustainable houses within the area. Constructed using insulated concrete, the house is highly energy efficient, and has a green roof, solar heated hot water and mechanical heat recovery to reduce heat loss and provide the family with clean fresh air.