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The Glass House: United Kingdom

PROJECT DETAILS



It is not every day that a body is found buried on your building site, but on a summer’s morning in 2012 this is exactly what happened while builders were laying foundations for RIBA award-winning architects AR Design Studio’s latest project. By 6pm they had found another 2.After the initial astonishment, the Police and later a team of Archaeologists were brought in who thankfully identified the remains as being of Roman origin. After a period of intense excavation, it was confirmed as a site of Archaeological importance when further evidence of Roman burials and defensive fortifications were uncovered, including the discovery of a rare Roman burial urn. Once the site was cleared of artefacts and the bodies taken to the local museum for research, work on the building could continue.These ancient findings further added to the already rich historical context of the property situated in the town of Winchester, the old Roman capital of England. The project was to convert the original servants’ quarters of the large Manor House that overlooked the surrounding grasslands. It was built by the Earl of Airlie in 1856 while he served as Camp Commandant at the nearby Peninsular Barracks military base and split into two more modestly sized dwellings in the 1950s.Since then, the servants’ quarters had fallen into a state of disrepair after the unfortunate passing of a sole elderly owner. It remained vacant for a number of years, until the long-time occupants of the Manor House sought to retire and move into the more manageable servants’ quarters and turn it into their dream home.The owner’s love of glass fuelled their brief to construct a beautifully simple sculptural glass staircase and a contemporary glass extension, situated at the rear of the property in the space created by the ‘C’ shape of the building, which would open itself up to the garden.The couple approached AR Design Studio Chartered Architects because of their experience in dealing with glass architecture and their interest in how this material can be used to create seamless relationships between inside and outside space, between the man-made and nature.Hidden from view behind the buildings traditional façade, the finished extension is an elegant piece of modern contemporary glass architecture.

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