Country House, Paragraph 80

Country House, a 300mscheme, is our first Paragraph 80 or Para 80 house (formerly PPS7, Paragraph 55, Paragraph 79), sits in the South Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and has been designed to link the building to the surrounding landscape. The clients called for a home for two people, but which would be large enough for visiting family and friends. Originally designed under the Paragraph 55 definition.

Project & Environmental Data

Project Info

  • Location: South Downs National Park
  • Cost: £2,500,000
  • Designation: AONB, National Park, Conservation Area
  • Collaborators: Professor Doug King; Hughes Planning; Eckersley O’ Callaghan; Terra Firma
  • Image Credit: Darc Studio

Environmental Data

  • Energy Efficiency
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7
  • Insulation
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7
  • Thermal Mass
    1 2 3 4 5
  • Airtightness
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7
  • Solar PV
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
  • Embodied Carbon
    1 2
  • Heating/Hot Water
    Electric Gas Ground Source Air Source
  • Solar Thermal
    Yes No
  • Rain Water Harvest
    Yes No
  • Ventilation
    MVHR Natural
  • Energy Storage
    Yes No
The country house blends into the landscape

Paragraph 80 or Para 80

Planning policies and decisions should avoid the development of isolated homes in the countryside unless one or more of the following circumstances apply:

(e) The design is of exceptional quality, in that it: is truly outstanding, reflecting the highest standards in architecture, and would help to raise standards of design more generally in rural areas; and would significantly enhance its immediate setting, and be sensitive to the defining characteristics of the local area.
. . . NPPF, paragraph 80 . . .

Interior space of the family home
Interior space of the family home connected into the landscape
Concept sketch blending house into landscape

Parsonage Barn is positioned within a unique Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The landscape is dominated by geology in the form of the South Downs Hills.
Many of the buildings surrounding the site have a strong physical connection to the geology of this area through their use of the vernacular building material, flint. They are formed from the very stuff of the earth, materials which have stood the test of time.

Country house roof blending into landscape

“Overall, the Panel felt that the proposal had passed the point of justification in relation to Paragraph 55. The architectural intent, its response to the setting and the construction and sustainability proposals together had the promise of an exemplary scheme designed for a very particular context. The Panel congratulated the team of the intellectual input, the sensitivity of approach and the compositional skill. The Panel believed this was an exceptional proposal worthy of an approval within the definition of paragraph 55…"

. . . South Downs Review Panel . . .

We question our clients, the site, the design, we question techniques, materials, and collaborators. By constantly questioning we are always learning and improving, pushing our designs forward to ensure we are at the forefront of our practice.

We believe that quality architecture adds value, both emotional and financial. Our architecture enhances your sense of well-being, the value of which is difficult to quantify in monetary terms. Our design skill, knowledge and tenacity also add financial value as the benefit of realising quality design increases the value of a site and maximises your investment.

The proposed design was not arrived at through the typical and established way of creating a house. Working with Professor Doug King, Eckersley O’ Callaghan, Terra Firma and Rob Hughes, it was a true inter-disciplinary collaboration between the study of structure, environment, landscape and architecture, working together to meet an identified need.

As our clients approach retirement they identified that their living requirements were changing – they the wished for a home in which they could live comfortably and sustainably for the next 20-30 years. The architectural design is innovative - a direct response to the landscape in which it is sited, not only in form, but in the interpretation and display of the vernacular language of the area, realised through a contemporary architectural proposal.

The locally available materials and traditional construction methods of East Meon have been the starting point for many design decisions, including as to what this home is crafted from. The result is dwelling created though a collaborative process with a unique architectural and structural form that enhances its setting and achieves a harmony with nature.

The home is designed to be zero carbon in use and will be built using low embodied carbon building materials and construction methods.

. . . The Architect’s Journal . . .