Architect In Charge: Lynsey Elliott, Ben Elliott
Private Client: Steve Jasper + Mark Kerr (WSP Parsons Brinkerhoff) Structural engineers
Text description provided by the architects. North Bank lies on the outskirts of a picturesque village in the Tyne valley, Northumberland, UK. Despite its rural location the site has neighbours to three sides, and so the design was developed to be considerate of this, orientating the form towards the wonderful views over the valley and towards the Pennines to the south.
The conservation area setting required a careful and sensitive approach, and so the design incorporates and reinterprets elements of rural Northumberland’s historic agricultural barns.
Historically many of the areas dwellings were thatched with local heather – this required a steeply pitched roof which can still be seen on some local buildings, and so the design pays homage to this approach. This elegantly proportioned roof has been utilised to create a dramatic internal living space, with the softness of the design reminiscent of a humble country chapel.
The building sits close to the road and is orientated to make the most of the site whilst also allowing the same views to the neighbour and people passing along the road.
The sunpath was carefully considered, along with the windy nature of the site, with the external terrace positioned to make the most of these factors. The design draws the eye to the wonderful views to the south, whilst still maintaining privacy with its neighbours, and the views are carefully framed rather than expansive, to offer a feeling of protection and privacy to the occupants.
The building form ‘points’ towards the river Tyne and the 18thcentury zinc smelt works of the North Pennines, with the old smelting flue at Langley clearly visible, which was once one of the worlds largest exporters of the material. This gave rise to the zinc roof, used in its honest, unfinished natural state.
The zinc roof and timber cladding create a lightness to the feel of the house, and when seen from the south, the strong gable floats in the trees as the ground sharply falls away…although different to its neighbours, this is a design which is rooted in the local physical and historic context and has been sensitively designed to embody the ‘spirit of place’ of this wonderful region.