Nick Willson Architects
West Sussex, United Kingdom
Project Year
Private Houses
Rosa Aragon


Nick Willson Architects as Architects

The project is located in the beautiful country side of West Sussex, surrounded by deciduous mature trees.

Conceptually, the house is designed stepping down with the site, focus on maximizing the passive solar gain from the south, allowing the trees to shade the building in the summer season.

The gentle slope organizes the building in different levels from less to more private areas.

The garage is at a higher level, shield by trees, makes us approach the house without knowing how the building will be, few steps down takes us to the entrance, were you can seat and see a little glimpse of the mature trees on the north, after taking off our shoes we continue the journey down towards the main space where the house opens to the site towards the north and the south, this is a double height space full with light all year round, the kitchen dining room is the core of the house, framed by a red brick wall with herring bond, that hides the staircase.

Passing through small opening we go down to the most private space, the living room, this space opens to the view offering a relaxing space to chill by the fireplace, play de piano or simply enjoy the surrounding views.

Upstairs on the right side is located the master bedroom, with large dressing room and en-suite bathroom.’

The bridge over the double height space accommodates the home office, a space that has vertical connection with the core of the house, on the hand side family bedrooms and bathrooms.


From the first sketches the design was focus on using the natural resources, understanding the sun, the wind and landscape we came up with a building that has a very efficient shape to perform passively in winter and in summer.

Windows allow south light to flood the house in winter to maximize solar gain, the ones in the North are smaller, allowing a fresh breeze to cool down the house in summer, overhangs and louvers prevent the house from overheating.

A fabric first approach was the main drive in the construction for the house. Using a prefabricated timber frame filled with natural sheep's wool for insulation allows to reduce energy loses to a minimum, the concrete floor acts as thermal mass, all this combined with high airtightness and a mechanical ventilation with heat recovery cover most of the heating needs throughout the year.

Materials and crafts

The use of natural materials is being well thought form the beginning of the project, our client wanted to live in a naturally healthy home that allows them to be more self-sufficient, grow their own food and reduce their foot print.

Natural materials provide a healthier and happier people, Timber, sheep’s wool and brick are the main materials, inside the property the joinery is purpose made following the client needs, using a very sustainable and durable wood like bamboo, the brick walls enter in the house being the main material in the core of the building. The continuity on the materiality throughout gives the property a timeless character.

The Natural pool uses the rainwater harvested in the property and filters its water with natural plants.

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