Buchanan House

Buchanan House

Adam Knibb Architects
Oxfordshire, UK | View Map
Project Year
Richard Chivers

Buchanan House

Adam Knibb Architects as Architects

Set in Oxford, this new build dwelling splits functions over three distinct levels whilst offering a striking addition to its immediate surroundings. The key to finalising the final concept was a comprehensive analysis of the proposal's materiality, concluding with a solid state mass which acts as an anchor to the more lightweight box cantilevering on top of it. This arrangement offers a flexible living space while providing views and a high penetration of natural light, both of which can be enjoyed from all areas of the dwelling.


Internally, the proposal has a more traditional living arrangement, with the kitchen and open plan living/dining area located on the ground floor and the bedrooms and bathrooms above. The internal staircase in the main hall space downstairs allows access to both the first floor and the basement below, while also acting as a centralised visual feature within the floor plan. The basement space incorporates a boot room, carport and additional storage area, which can be accessed externally via a slope which leads to Kelly’s Road.


Carefully positioned openings, such as a large set of sliding doors to the rear garden, connect the internal and external spaces seamlessly; a key part of the client's initial brief. The cantilever doubles up to act as a canopy to those below whilst hosting the three bedrooms above. Each bedroom's window has been sized and orientated to maximise gains from views and natural light. The master bedroom is framed by a large feature corner window to the south east of the floor plan; capturing views of the sunrise and ensuring the interior remains well-lit throughout the day. The openings, coupled with the palette of materials, look to create a well balanced scheme that remain sympathetic to its surroundings whilst creating an architecture of this time.


The scheme has been developed with a pre-fabricated construction method in mind from the outset. The use of timber allowed us to explore various options such as cross-laminated timber (CLT) and structural insulated panels (SIPs) which both offered various benefits to the design in terms of structure and build-ability. Pre-fabricated timber cassettes form the structure of both the ground and first floor, with the lower floor having an outer leaf of masonry applied externally in order to create a heavier appearance. 

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