The reframing of a three hundred year old thatched cottage for contemporary times, located in Preston, rural Kent.
Early investigations were centred on the possibilities of a new kind of rural vernacular; an approach that enhances existing character and presence through careful renovation, whilst also providing truly modern, contextual architecture, reflective of landscape and topography, history and local narrative.
As our intimacy with the project increased we began to better interrogate the existing structure – an inherently straightforward building technique comprising simple foundations and, characteristic of buildings of this period, a simple rendered plinth with timber frame over; here with masonry infill and render as weather stop – topped with a timber-framed, thatched roof.
It is this tectonic that we have centred on in our response. How would we build this cottage now and how should this relate to the former?
The approved approach will see the introduction of a new cast in situ concrete plinth with self drawn CNC timber superstructure over. Achieving this will involve the prior removal of poor quality accretions and culminate with the introduction of additional accommodation to realise the client’s desire for it to work harder as an inviting, warm and characterful family home.
An earlier and sadly rejected scheme (by the relevant Local Authority) sought to create a contemporary facsimile of the former across a newly constructed courtyard.
As with many of our projects, we continue to explore the notion of contemporary craft; directly through craft’s inherent connection with the hand and indirectly via more modern methods of construction. Our continued aim is to ensure built language is consistent and appropriate, albeit contemporary to the time in that we live.