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Contemporary large family Dwelling overlooking the River Dee in Llangollen, Denbighshire

Sitting on a prominent site on a main road into Llangollen, Denbighshire, the site which originally formed part of a large mill complex had some challenges. The tight site has a storey difference in level and fronts directly onto the River Dee which is designated as a SAC and SSSI site.

The brief called for a contemporary but responsive, sustainable design reflecting the industrial and residential nature of the surrounding Denbighshire buildings.

Due to the location of the house, adjacent to commercial buildings in Denbighshire, the private amenity space has been arranged to the south of the site, separating the quieter, private amenity space from the commercial activity, thus ensuring there were no conflicts between the commercial and residential uses. The orientation of the site is such that the views and best orientation for daylight are to the South and West, where the main parking area is. By placing the house at the northernmost boundary of the plot, a better garden area could be created, and the dwelling can benefit from increased solar gains.

The dwelling house layout has been determined by the relationship of the Denbighshire site to the adjoining houses, larger commercial buildings and street geometries. The house is orientated along the river and set back from the pavement a similar distance to the two Denbighshire commercial buildings to the north and the traditional dwellings to the south. The dwelling has been designed three-dimensionally in reference to the scale and massing of both the commercial and residential buildings with the parapet heights stepping down from the level of the mill buildings creating an interesting and balanced street elevation. The three dimensionality of the dwelling has been carefully considered and was developed as two interconnecting forms which help to reduce the scale of the dwelling, while adding visual interest and reflecting the variety of scales in the immediate Denbighshire vicinity.

Each elevation and the internal arrangement of the dwelling-house has been carefully designed to
respond to its hierarchy and relationship to its surroundings. The main road elevation tries to
balance fenestrations and features with its proximity to the main road, including introducing the front
door similar to the neighbouring properties. While traditionally the road elevation is the main street elevation, we feel that the other three elevations are as likely to be viewed and should therefore be more aesthetically appealing within the hierarchy, although the Northerly elevation, due to a relationship with the Denbighshire Mill and increased heat loss has more limited glazing. The river elevation opens up further and benefits from large glazed areas and sun terrace to maximise the sunlight and views of the river and beyond.

Project Challenges: Main road location; level changes, Flood Zone, SAC, SSSI Site, Environmentally sensitive site. Impending World Heritage Status

Project Keywords: SSSI, SAC, FCA (flood consequence assessment), flood zone, panoramic views, planning permission, self-build in Denbighshire, Wales, RIBA Self Build Architect in Wales, timber frame house, self-build house.


Photographs/Images © Hunter Architects & Planners

Project Overview
Location: Llangollen, Denbighshire
Type: New Build Home
Status: Ongoing
Local Planning Authority: Denbighshire County Council
Features: Passive House Design, Energy Efficient, World Heritage site, contemporary design, double height entrance.

Similar Projects: Example 1, Example 2, Example 3, Example 4