The Pump House

Planning permission for the house was gained in 2009 on a site that was formerly a water pumping station. In terms of planning policy the site was viewed as greenfield and not within a developable area and the planning application was made under the onerous PPS7 (since superseded by a paragraph in the NPPF concerning rural exception policy).

The site changed hands after planning, but the original design has been implemented.

The design confirmed as an exemplary and outstanding piece of design by the Mid Sussex Design Panel, supported by the local planning department, and passed with a significant majority by the local Planning Committee.

A key element of the brief from our client, who selected us as their architects for our expertise and experience, was to design a contemporary passive energy home which would utilise sustainable construction methods and techniques deriving any additional energy requirements from renewable resources and offering the opportunity to put back surplus energy into the grid.

The original client expressed a specific desire for the house to have a distinct heart, with the main living spaces arranged in an informal open plan to create a sense of place and enclosure. It was important for the home to embrace its occupants, almost like a hug, wrapping them with protective arms whilst creating welcoming spaces that focus views to the South Downs. The plan was developed on this premise and developed 3 dimensionally with a striking sculptural quality to match.

The slow curves and organic geometry create a form that is specific to its site, making strong reference to the surrounding landscape and the flowing lines of the South Downs beyond. With a green roof, this allowed us to conceptually lift-up the ground plane where the building is to sit and create a dwelling beneath. Whilst it was important for the house to remain visible, it is embedded into the landscape, almost amphitheatrically, with the “stage” towards the view.

For more information, especially on its performance post occupation see news item.