Welch House

The Manser Practice Architects + Designers as Architects

The Brief Our client wanted a modern four bedroom family house with large open plan living area, using the dramatic seaside site. There was a requirement to keep the cost of the house as low as reasonably possible.


The house was designed to replace an existing shack on a steeply sloping site on a wooded foreshore. Ground conditions are notoriously unstable with blue slippery clay with rotating shelves underground. Foundations needed to be deeply piled and retained with soil nails and an early decision was to create a flat stable platform for a simple ‘box’ house raised on legs above the ground. This allowed for the simplest possible below ground solution, reduced the area of house that ‘touched’ the ground, avoided the need for complex and expensive multi level changes within the house whilst raising it ‘tree house’ like amongst the trees.


An initial design with the building on steel framed legs proved too expensive so a compact tear shaped concrete tube was created on 30m deep piles with 30m long raking soil nails containing utility room and shower room on top of which was placed a simple steel framed two storey box. This contains, on the ground floor, the entrance and the bedrooms and on the first floor, a study and the living / kitchen area.


The building is clad in cement particle board rain screen cladding painted with a marine high gloss enamel. The whole building is designed on a 1200 x 1200 x 1200 grid.


(Additional Information) After a protracted planning application process (3 years) involving research on the site going back to the middle of the 19th Century and negotiations with the Environment Agency the problems of physical construction on site were addressed with the complex concrete construction below ground, tying the building into the more stable bedrock 30m below ground level, and difficult access.


The building is designed to have a small as possible physical footprint on the ground and for the house itself to appear to float within the trees as a simple, polished black box.


Internally finishes are clean, simple and economic. For reasons of economy all glazing is fixed and ventilation and cross ventilation is provided by a series of floor level opening panels and roof lights.


The lightweight steel and timber two storey ‘box’ of the house is roofed using timber self spanning insulated panels (SIPS) and the cladding to the building gives gentle reflections of all the enveloping surrounding trees.


The construction time, including ground works, was 18 months.


Precis A four bedroom family house on a sloping and unstable site on the north shore of the Isle of Wight. A light weight steel and timber two storey box is perched on top of a tubular concrete structure rising from the 30m deep foundations giving spectacular views over the Solent.


Featured Projects
Latest Products
News
Suspension House by Fougeron Architecture dramatically spans a creek and waterfall running between lush California hills
5 Dec 2022 News
Suspension House by Fougeron Architecture dramatically spans a creek and waterfall running between lush California hills

Immersed in a beautiful and hilly California landscape, Suspension House by Fougeron Architecture is... More

IUA develop a dynamic series of passageways and bridges for a new business school in response to the specific climate of a Mexico site
5 Dec 2022 News
IUA develop a dynamic series of passageways and bridges for a new business school in response to the specific climate of a Mexico site

Located in the northern part of Mérida (Mexico), The School of Business and Banking (EBC) by... More

Renesa designs a Delhi eatery in a striking material palette of terrazzo and terracotta
2 Dec 2022 News
Renesa designs a Delhi eatery in a striking material palette of terrazzo and terracotta

Tucked in a former Indian restaurant in a premium shopping mall in Saket, Delhi, ‘Rosie and Ti... More

Top 10 residential table lamps
2 Dec 2022 News
Top 10 residential table lamps

Residential table lamps provide direct or indirect lighting to highlight areas of activity within la... More

Hidalgo Mira Arquitectura restore the historic Godelleta tower in Valencia, Spain
30 Nov 2022 News
Hidalgo Mira Arquitectura restore the historic Godelleta tower in Valencia, Spain

Estimated to be built between the period of 11th and 13th centuries, the Godelleta tower is a Buildi... More

Stilt Studios unveil prefab treehouse hospitality units overlooking the lush rice fields of Bali
30 Nov 2022 News
Stilt Studios unveil prefab treehouse hospitality units overlooking the lush rice fields of Bali

Set amidst the coastal village of Canggu, Treehouse Studios is Stilt studios' newest hospitality add... More

Sterck’s new showroom revives the glory of the industrial heritage of Aalst, Belgium
30 Nov 2022 News
Sterck’s new showroom revives the glory of the industrial heritage of Aalst, Belgium

Formerly a weaving mill repurposed into a Tupperware plastic factory and recently transformed into a... More

Casa TO by Ludwig Godefroy is an experiential retreat on Mexico's Pacific coast
30 Nov 2022 News
Casa TO by Ludwig Godefroy is an experiential retreat on Mexico's Pacific coast

Nestled amidst a land of golden sunsets, with unparalleled vistas of the sea, sand and cliffs, in La... More