Napier Clarke Architects, Great Missenden, 2016


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Pennycroft replaces an undistinguished 1930s building that was tucked away at the back of the plot 

Joakim Boren     Download Original

  • Pennycroft replaces an undistinguished 1930s building that was tucked away at the back of the plot    
  • The V-shaped window    
  • The chimney stacks are articulated separately from the rest of the house    
  • Bovingdon bricks were used    
  • Interior view of the V-shaped window    
  • White is used in the interior    
  • Velfac windows are used at the lower level    
  • The living space    
  • One of the open living spaces downstairs    
  • The bathroom    
  • Site plan    
  • Ground floor plan and first floor plan    
  • Roof plan    
  • Sections AA and BB    
  • Section CC    
  • Sections DD,EE,FF    
  • North and south elevation    
  • East and west elevation    
  • Frame detail    

At Pennycroft, Buckinghamshire, Napier Clarke’s five-bedroom house has updated William Morris’s legacy.

The site of the house lies about a 10-minute walk from Great Missenden train station in an Area of Special Character, so designated because of its Arts and Crafts architecture. This ensured that the new house would have to follow the area’s strict planning policy and as such is described by its architects as ‘a contemporary interpretation of the local Arts and Crafts architecture’.

The composition from the front of the house is a clear one: a brick base punctured by large windows; an upper level of timber panels with a staccato run of clerestory windows; and a large V-shaped window jutting out above the sloping roofline. Clever detailing allows the interaction of forms and materials to remain as clear as possible.The robust yet finely finished front door – the only bit of timber to break into the brick base – opens onto a vaulted, double-height entrance hall, with corresponding V-shaped window on the opposite side of the house, rising above a gallery/walkway that links the upstairs spaces. 

The five bedrooms are arranged along the front of the house and reached axially, with the gallery/walkway separating the guest room from the family’s accommodation. A niche has been left for a spiral staircase to the large loft space should further accommodation be required in the future.

The project is constructed from a lightweight steel frame infilled with highly insulated timber panels and sealed with a Tyvek membrane to minimise air loss. A further layer of insulation is located in the cavity and an air gap. The external face is constructed from Flemish bond local brickwork and lime mortar to dispense with the need for movement joints.

At the lower level, the brickwork is punctured by metal/timber composite Velfac windows and then separated from the roof with bespoke FSC Douglas fir windows and panelling. A painted red metal gutter lines the eaves of the roof.

At ground level there is a concrete slab, with insulation above and a screed with underfloor heating, finished with a white oiled European oak floor.

At first floor level the Posi-Joist system allows for service distribution and 100mm Hush Acoustics insulation and is finished on the underside with plasterboard. Above is underfloor heating within insulation and carpet covering.

Professional Team