Field House, Lewis Road, Kettering

Field House is a contemporary 4-bedroom “life-time” family detached house located in Kettering, Northamptonshire. Originally the site of a caretaker’s bungalow within the grounds of a local school, the proposed two-storey dwelling is a surprisingly confident intervention in what otherwise might have been a rather constrained and unpromising site.

The site aligns with Lewis Road and is bounded on three sides by the school grounds. Except for two 1930’s villas on the same street, the remainder of the neighbouring building stock, while well built, is somewhat prosaic and limiting as a reference point for the aspirations of our client.

This project presented MAAPS with a unique location with three distinct challenges: firstly, a home in a detached suburban context; secondly, a building opposite a row of traditional semi-detached dwellings; and thirdly, adjacent a girls secondary high school with its attendant safeguarding and overlooking issues to mitigate.

The design of the house had to balance out these competing and conflicting interests and meet the requirements of our clients brief: to ensure visual privacy for the school grounds; provide generous amenity and privacy for three generations of family within the home; and to find a distinctive contemporary expression within a rather dull suburban context.

At MAAPS we are fascinated in how a building can interact and sit purposefully within its context. In conceiving the form and orientation of the design of the house, we were continually drawn to the intriguing examples of Art-Deco buildings which are peppered throughout the Barton and St Michael’s / Wicksteed estate. As we developed our design thoughts, and in close consultation with the local planning authority, a design rationale emerged where one could envisage Lewis Road bookended with two distinct expressions of a modern home spanning 90 years of architectural history.

The house is designed as two massing elements; one brick; the other stucco and concrete. The modular scale and rhythm of the forms mimic the opposite residential buildings and allows the property to sit across the full width of the site without over dominating it. The site in bounded on three sides with a tall concrete ribbon wall to ensure visual privacy between the school and dwelling.

The principle living space on the ground floor is dual aspect with the remaining windows to the first floor organised to be north facing. The building’s form and the gentle curved elements, both within and external, pull their cues from the 1930’s, softening the overall look of the building and providing a distinctive character for the home.

One of MAAPS key objectives within the project was to increase the amount of biodiversity to the site. The simple use of green roofs, along with a reduction of hard standing from the previous scheme, enabled us a achieve a net increase of 40% of biodiversity across the site. Along with other routine sustainability commitments to provide a superior envelope insulation, use of ground source heat pumps, and to conserve rainwater our client will enjoy an efficient, ultra-low energy building for many years.

© MAAPS Design & Architecture Limited 2020