Hind House / John Pardey Architects

Architects: John Pardey Architects
Location: Wargrave, Berkshire, England
Project Architect: Henry Goss
Project Manager / Contractor: Ridgetree Construction, Wargrave (Clive Hicks)
Structural Engineer: Barton Engineers, London (Bob Barton)
Project year: 2008
Total Area: 242 sqm
Photographs: Richard Powers &

The clients had moved into a rather ordinary brick and tile 1970′s house on the banks of the river Loddon in early 2005 and wished to rebuild using a system-built house from the continent, but had become disillusioned with the cost and inflexibility that this offered and so approached us as they had been impressed by a house some 400 meters along the river that we had completed the previous year (The ‘Attwood house’ which went on to win the Grand Designs Best Remodeled House in Britain Award in 2007). Initially, we offered to come up with a sketch design for a small cost on the basis of no-win, no job! Happily, they loved the concept and after a few months of developing their ambitions, we arrived at the final design.


The brief segregated the house into three distinct zones; an open living space; a guest room/ gym area; and a bedroom area. We based our concept on these three elements to create wings that adopt a pinwheel form. The whole ensemble is raised up on columns to deal with the fact that the river is subject to seasonal flooding to a depth of just over one meter. The house occupies roughly the same position as the existing, and is set parallel to the river but as the plot twists towards the lane, arrival is angled around an entrance court.

A dark zinc-clad wing is pushed forward receive a staircase that slices up into an open hood that is timber lined, with a glazed room to the side containing guest suite that doubles up as a gym. The stair arrives onto a an entrance balcony, with glazed door leading into a central hall space – this is the day room, dedicated to outdoor living and leads out onto a large deck, complete with hot tub beneath a zinc canopy. Following the zig-zag of the pinwheel, a staircase then leads down to a garden deck, with boardwalk that arrives at a landing stage on the river’s edge.

To one side of the central element is a long, open living wing, resting on a cantilevered steel table that frames parking space. This is a cedar-clad element, with full height glazed wall onto a balcony to the river façade and a projecting linear oriel onto the north, garden façade. The space is divided into kitchen/ dining areas with a timber storage unit to the far end concealing study.

To the other side is a cubic bedroom block stood on spindly columns. Again, cedar-clad this contains bathrooms and two bedrooms to the lower level and a top-floor master bedroom eerie.

The house is to be steel framed, with timber stud infill; cedar and zinc-clad with aluminium-framed windows (frameless glazing to gym area); single-ply roofing.

The house is run by a computerized building management system that controls not just heating demands, but also lighting, solar control and audio-visual installations. The walls, floors and roofs are highly insulated using sheep’s wool insulation to create a highly efficient home.

The house continues our interest in natural materials that weather well, and an architecture that seeks out an embrace and celebration of nature.

Cite: "Hind House / John Pardey Architects" 10 Jun 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 28 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=24363>

    How do you get to this when it is flooded? By boat? And where do the cars park when this lot is flooded? I like the idea of a hovering view over the water, and then over the land depending on what time of year it is, but just wondering about the logistics…I’ve never had to deal with flooding where I am.

  • anna

    are you sure this is in victoria australia??

  • eric

    i’m pretty sure this is not in victoria, au
    river Loddon, near Wargrave is in england right?

  • http://www.ft3arc.com Fino

    I…..am caught up, and yet intrigued with this. It’s a design that established an aesthetic with a natural disaster and puts itself at risk if the water hits a record high. This architecture is frustratingly contradictive by being “responsibly irresponsible”. It’s taking a risk, a big risk when mother nature takes a violent course. It’s……like its begging to be destroyed, but it’s willing to make that sacrifice just to witness a natural event. I can’t decide of this project is just plain stupid or brilliant.

    I don’t know if that is all.

    • Henry Goss

      Interesting comment but I can assure you that if this house floods a large part of the South East will be underwater.

  • Peter

    Nope… its not Australia… its in Wargrave, Berkshire, England.

    Many people want to live by the river, and as I am finding with two clients at the moment, it is very difficult to achieve permission form the Environment Agency in the UK … Even with a previous structure on the land.

    This is a great house, logistics aside, I wondering if this was an exceptional period of flooding (1 in 100 year’s maybe?) The environment agency can normally offer advice as to when flooding will occur, and therefore cars etc can be kept where dry ground is located, and on many of the islands in the Thames, people still use boats to get to the river bank… so boats for a few weeks when it does flood are a minor inconvenience for living in a stunning house in a wonderful setting the rest of the time.

    Well done John Pardey Architects… another stunningly detailed home.

  • richal

    Sinking modernism.i don’t think so.Almost always ok the idea of elevate the mass over “pilotis” like V.Savoye if you are stand up at that close to the water.Like to wear a bermudas if u are close to the line that divide water fom sand in the beach.
    The classic beach dewell sit on columns tell us haw tradition and modern are the same, at the end of the day is architecture.

  • Richal Ditto

    Remember the Farnsworht.

  • Churcher

    I think its brilliant, what a simple adaption to the seasonal flooding. Yes there might be a slight chance mother nature could turn, but its worth it. I think its exciting.

  • Ralf

    Flood House

  • http://www.workology.com/members/MatthewFranklin71.aspx Shropshire Architect

    This is a great response to a site. I particularly like the photos of the site under water. I am working on a flood replacement dwelling, but the site is large enough to put the new house on higher ground.

  • http://www.creativolabuenavida.tk daiber

    I wonder if le corbusier thought about that on the v. saboye lol

    in this case I find it completly justificated the use of pilots, kinda obvious solution to the problem.

    the interiors are beatiful, and it woulded be nice if they solved the problem with the cars and floodings, so the house can be really independent on forecasts or things like that

  • Lasse

    Nice filosophical note Fino but come on people… It really does’nt take much of a genius to come up with an elevated house as response to the need of elevation…… Don’t get me wrong! I Like THE IDEA of a house hovering over a flooded garden, I just think they shold have designed a nice house too, the proprotions are hidious, the composition of boxes and graphics are trying to be very basic but it fucks that up too and is just messy. And in general the mix of deadtech and treehouse aethetics is (not uncommon but) terrible, what are people thinking when they build such crap? Boyscouts hut meets airport..?
    And at groundlevel it creates a big and dark space, seemingly only used to park a Landrover..

    • Napolean

      Well the RIBA did not agree withy you hence the award, and also your choice of architectual descriptive adjectives seems to suggest you need to take more water with your whisky!
      A wonderful and inspiring design.

  • One

    Wonderful settingand reacion, great building. Interesting narratives and so. Pitty that spaces are now ‘enclosed’ rather than ‘open’ to the direct environment.

  • Bogdan


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  • Davis

    no thing more than intelligence

  • Valmir Borba

    The project simply Wonderful!
    When I graduated in 2014 I intend to do projects such as good!

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