This unusual ‘Para 79’ property (formally known as ‘Paragraph 55’) required a landscape design that would match the special nature of this extraordinary piece of architecture, of exceptional quality and innovative design.
Nicolas Tye Architects approached Aralia to develop a landscape design for this dwelling having established an excellent working relationship with us over a number of other projects, from new builds to total refurbishments and redesigns of large properties, many on difficult sites with various planning stipulations and complex design requirements. Nicholas Tye were confident in our abilities to handle the complex demands of such a project and had no hesitation in putting us forward as their recommendation to act as landscape architects for this client.
The new house was to be sited in a landscape of approximately 10 acres, between areas of semi natural ancient woodland and a newer tree plantation. Its innovative form was intended by the architects to capture the essence of these wooded areas and translate this into a design using biomimicry. This resulted in a dwelling where living space is raised and spaced around a central core, allowing light to flood into the dwelling from all sides and creating an ‘understorey’ which references the woodland setting.
Aralia’s biggest challenge was how to meld the client brief, the novel tree-house design and the ancient woodland location into a workable landscape design. The house uses natural materials in a thoroughly modern glulam construction, and Aralia was keen to put this contemporary structure into a context that echoed the architect’s mantra of ‘natural design, man-made intervention’ whilst meeting the needs for a family home.
Envisaging spaces that are not yet built and are architecturally unusual is a particular skill that is essential for this type of project, something which the design team at Aralia is adept at.
Aralia’s design focuses on the central garden, onto which all of the largest windows of the house will face, and which will be the primary outside space for the family. This is conceived as an inner woodland of silver birch, lifting the senses with white underplanting. Sail shades are suspended from the dwelling’s glulam cages, bringing the ceiling down to human scale.
Wanting to give the owners a true sense of arrival, the design manages the views as one approaches the property, obscuring some views with man-made mounds and screening others with trees, until the big reveal as one turns the corner approaching the house.
The garden itself has no urban references, allowing the woodland to wrap around the house. Prairie grass planting hints at something wilder alongside the newly relocated driveway, and lush shade planting under the building itself completes the courtyard. Wedges of sharply defined hedging and stone structures cut through the planting in a way that mixes nature with man’s intervention and echoes the angularity of the glulam cage.
Working in collaboration with Architects
Nicolas Tye Architects were confident to work in partnership with Aralia on this landmark project as they know we understand how to create successful spaces around the architecture, giving it space to breathe. They appreciate our ability to get inside the architect’s head to understand the values and ethos of the architectural concept in order for us to respond successfully to the site as well as the requirements of the clients and architects’ briefs.
Testimonial from the Architects
“We have been working with Aralia for circa 2 years and have found them to be a highly professional landscape design practice. The team are responsive, flexible and easy to deal with, they take a creative approach to the landscape design process and are proactive in how they work alongside us. They have a similar design ethos to ourselves and this has resulted in some very strong design collaborations including ‘Westland House’ for which they were awarded ‘Garden Designer of the Year 2017’ by the APL.
Nicolas Tye Architects, January 2018
Working in collaboration with Nicolas Tye on a contemporary new build property in Hertfordshire, Aralia was awarded ‘APL Designer of the Year’ for our designs for the gardens of this country estate. Find out more about this project.
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