The Pool House, Shillingstone

Richmond Bell Architects, Dorset, 2018


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Richmond Bell Architects     Download Original

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Richmond Bell Architects were commissioned in 2016 to design a unique outbuilding for the Manor House in Shillingstone, Dorset.

The project included the demolition of the existing garage and outbuilding and the creation of a pool house with bunk rooms on the ground floor, along with a replacement garage and workshop. The client asked for an extensive entertaining space on the upper floor, overlooking the swimming pool and gardens.

The contemporary design relies upon a cantilevered first floor that rests on the original brick and flint garden wall. The materials were inspired by the local surroundings using a simple palette of timber, slate and brick, with a vertical larch cladding that will continue to fade overtime to a silvery-grey. The natural slate roof matches that of the existing Manor House and contains a hidden gutter, which gives this building a clean and modern aesthetic.

A collection of different sized windows built into the garden wall frame the views to the pool area, and floor to ceiling glass on the upper floor provide glimpses of the formal gardens of the Manor House.

As the site lies within the Shillingstone Conservation Area, RBA had to carefully consider the implications of the design on the wider context. Planning permission was granted in May 2017, with the local authority considering the design to have preserved the character and appearance of the conservation area.

RBA worked closely with the engineer and arboriculturalist to design a foundation that would protect the root area of the adjacent large horse chestnut tree. As such the tree was not negatively affected by the works and a design that sits sympathetically within its setting was achieved.


  • Begun: Nov 2017
  • Completed: May 2018
  • Floor area: 100m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £209,000
  • Funding: Private
  • Tender date: May 2017
  • Procurement: Traditional
  • Address: Dorset, United Kingdom