Ben Cunliffe Architects were particularly excited by the opportunity to design a new house in such a unique location as this. High on Loughrigg Fell, above Ambleside, this was once the site of the former Ambleside golf course club house. Given the rough, steep and wooded ground to all sides, it’s astonishing that a golf course ever existed here! However, the views across to the open fells beyond are spectacular and the potential of this site was unrivalled.
The plot, and the brief, presented some challenges as well. The client was keen for the house to be designed in accordance with the principles of Sthapatya Veda, an ancient, eastern system of knowledge similar to Feng Shui. This had considerable influence on the positioning of the building and the internal layouts.
A central light well runs right through the centre of the house, and the building sits on a plinth with entrances in specific locations.
A clay block system was specified for the construction. These are lighter than traditional concrete blocks, which made the delivery up the unsurfaced track easier, as well as being a highly performing construction type. The building is highly insulated, and benefits from being ventilated by an MVHR system, which also recycles the heat from the warm air.
The timber and stonework cladding keep the bold forms of this house rooted to the fellside surroundings, and the site is being planted up with shrubs and bushes that, in time, will allow this large house to successfully nestle into the landscape.
Internally, the stonework continues into the central stairwell and hall. The ground floor has a substantial, open-plan living area, a separate drawing room, utility space and a meditation room. On the first floor, five bedrooms provide accommodation for the family.
Needless to say, the windows are positioned to maximise the views beyond. Panoramic, sliding doors to the lounge and living areas provide an ever-changing vista over the Fairfield horseshoe, and allow the spaces to flow out onto the surrounding terrace. In winter, wood burning stoves keep the spaces cosy and warm despite the exposed location.
The separate garage with accommodation above completes the project. The prominent location and visibility from the Loughrigg bridleway, has provided a considerable amount of positive feedback about this house, and we hope this will continue for years to come as the site matures and the owners make the house their family home.