Stags End is within the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is located on the southerly sloping side of a dry valley.
The accommodation requirements of the client and the picturesque landscape led us to a grass mound concept that reflects the local undulating chalk grassland of the area. This concept achieved a modest profile, which has no greater impact on the landcsape than the bungalow on the site, which it replaced.
The plan of Stags End is based on an ellipse, which is set out from the edge of the elliptical pool within the sunken terrace. The form allows all of the principal rooms within the house to take advantage of views down the site towards the woodland and to benefit from the southerly orientation. All the principal rooms benefit from abundant daylight and solar gain whilst maintaining privacy from neighbouring properties for their occupants.
Stags End continues the local tradition of the use of stone for houses of significance and anchors the building into the chalk grassland landscape.
The green roof and earth sheltering combined with high levels of insulation have produced an energy efficient building. Excesses of heat gain and air conditioning have been avoided through the combination of earth sheltering and the high thermal mass provided by the insitu concrete structure and stonework cladding. Water consumption is also minimised by irrigating the green roof with recycled water from the roofs and hard surfaced areas.
The house is entered on the ground floor storey and is linked to the basement storeys with a two storey high space made up of interlinking cylinders. A circular glazed rooflight over the entrance hall provides daylight to both storeys via a glazed oculus in the floor. The two storeys are linked with a steel staircase with glass treads and curved glass guarding. The painted steel skeletal supports to the treads, guarding and handrails are intended to resemble the shape of stag's antlers, in reference to the name inherited from the bungalow that the new house replaced.
Internally the double curvature of the concrete roof is expressed within the swimming pool. The curved walls of the subterranean snooker room are clad in cherry panelling with horizontal walnut stripes. The cladding to the corners of the room is also curved to provide an elegant space which evokes an atmosphere which is appropriate to the use of the room.
The house takes advantage of the slope of the site so that the basement level is below ground level at the front but still enables views and daylight to be enjoyed from the rear. The living rooms all open onto the elliptical courtyard which is embraced by the two curved wings and which provides a sunny and private outdoor space, within the centre of which are standing stones set within the pool from which the geometry of the building is generated.
The low profile of the house ensures that the building has a minimal impact on the landscape whilst making a 21st century contribution within it and to the architecture of the area.