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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

BLUEBELL POOL HOUSE by Adam Knibb Architects

October 1st, 2013 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: Adam Knibb Architects

Replacing a disused tennis court the brief for Adam Knibb Architects was to create a Pool House that harnessed nature, maximised views; minimised environmental impact and provided fun/enjoyment for the family.

Image Courtesy © Adam Knibb Architects

Image Courtesy © Adam Knibb Architects

Sited with its ‘back’ to woodland, the folded rectangular form frames views across the garden/fields. The design links movement from public to private areas through purposively designed elements that promote fluidity not physical separation. The decking acts as a ‘catwalk’ controlling the experience.

Image Courtesy © Adam Knibb Architects

The clients desire for a self-build project implied necessity for the design to allow for simplified building processes; emphasised by a pre-fabricated timber structure.

Image Courtesy © Adam Knibb Architects

Designed to respond to its surroundings, the building is timber clad with a vertical orientation to mimic the trees. Natural oak cladding, softening over time and a sedum roof help the building blend further into the environment. Large sliding doors blur boundaries between internal and external spaces aided by the visible internal timber structure.

An air source heat pump provides heat.

Image Courtesy © Adam Knibb Architects


The Pool House was designed to be sustainable in construction and use.

The timber structure allowed use of a renewable source, reduced CO2 emissions and aided carbon storing within the building. The pre-fabricated approach reduced construction time dramatically. The sustainable oak cladding was sourced from English woodlands and sized for minimum wastage.

Image Courtesy © Adam Knibb Architects

Large glazinghelps maximize solar gains during winter months, these are set back under a parapet overhang to also aid temperature control during summer months. High levels of insulation and the sedum roof minimise internal heat fluctuations.

The sedum roof was installed not only to aid temperature control but also to provide visual relief from the main house, animal habitat and low building maintenance.

Image Courtesy © Adam Knibb Architects

An air source heat pump not only provides renewable energy to heat both the pool and underfloor heating system but also significantly reduces running costs.An extremely efficient pool cover was also chosen to minimise the heat loss.

Annual prediction for pool and building: 92 kgCO2/m2

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Image Courtesy © Adam Knibb Architects

Bluebell Cottage is a large detached private home that is situated in Crawley, near Winchester.  The house, occupying the last development at the end of a track, faces north with a large ‘front’ garden as the main usable space.

The garden receives sunlight throughout the day and is overlooked only by the surrounding tree and fields.

The active site is an old tennis court that requires replacement or a change of use. The proposal seeks to create a pool-house that is of a discrete nature, does not block views to the fields, is of minimal impact and provides fun/enjoyment for the family.

Sited with its ‘back’ to woodland, the folded rectangular form frames views across the garden/fields and integrates with the landscape to provide a usable space but with minimal impact.

From the outset the design looked to link movement from public areas through to private areas in the form of designed elements that form visual barriers rather than physical blockades. This is ultimately dictated by the decking acting as a ‘catwalk’ to control the experience.

Taking influence from the surrounding woodlands the design looks to use timber in its construction through various forms. A conceptual approach of using timber in a structural and natural way can be used to create the basis of the form. The concept allows all sections of a ‘tree’ to be utilised in different construction techniques on the project i.e. the centre of the trunk as traditional, strong structural timber and the leftover’s to be manufactured into modern forms.  In this case, exposed internal timber walls lend a memory to the timber structure and the external landscape.

Image Courtesy © Adam Knibb Architects

The brief needed to satisfy the clients desire for a self-build project and implied a necessity for the design to allow for simplified building processes; emphasised by a pre-fabricated timber structure. Designed in the UK the timber CLT panels were manufactured in Austria and delivered in a single load flat packed to site. It then only took 2 days for the structure to be erected and installed. With such accuracy achieved in pre-fabrication it allowed for the windows to be order off plan and installed in matter of days following. This process drastically reducing the waiting time on site and ensured a speedy watertight shell.

With the main structure installed, it then allowed the client to tackle each section in stages. Working from the exterior to interior the sedum grass roof was applied followed by the vertical oak cladding and so forth. Oak was specified for the external appear of the building and decking to not only tie back to the theory of the surrounding trees but to also provide a continually changing façade. The timber, over time, will soften and silver to blend the building into the background.

Although budget constraints were set out at the beginning of the project, it was of greater necessity to ensure that the build-abilty of the project was simple and easy to put together being a self build project.

Image Courtesy © Adam Knibb Architects

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Category: Pool House

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