Highly Commended

The Watson House


The Watson House

Project Info

The brief began with the idea of occupying the house for short breaks – a holiday home that is easy to use and the clients wished to live in contact with nature. They wanted a house that offered the opposite to their day to day urban life – a place that breathed, that was open, light, easy to maintain and interacted with the garden and woodland.

The brief was clear that the parents wanted to have space between their two teenage children’s bedrooms and their own and also provide a room for guests, but a single social space for cooking, eating and relaxing together. The design was the result of the idea of a simple linear single-storey form that ‘touched the earth lightly’. Two linear concrete foundations ran along each side of the house (with a basement in the central section) and these supported laminated timber floor, wall and roof panels from KLH timber. The panels, craned over the trees from the road, were erected in less that one week and slender steel columns were employed to support the 15 metre long opening facing onto the woodland. The design tolerances of this system allowed for windows to be pre-ordered and this in turn allowed the house to be weather-tight in a matter of weeks. The house was clad externally with rigid insulation and a rainscreen of open jointed, sweet chestnut slats over a black mesh. The roof was a single ply membrane.

Initial budget estimate was established by a QS cost plan at £634,000. Final account was £640,000.00. The main difference in cost was the adoption of Peterson Kolumba bricks for the central fireplace, which the client wanted at our recommendation.


LocationNew Forest, Hampshire

ArchitectJohn Pardey Architecrs

Structural EngineerRamboll UK

Wood SupplierKLH Ltd

ContractorNFTS Ltd (no longer trading)

SpeciesLarch/Fir (cross lam panels) - Sweet Chestnut (cladding/joinery)

ClientCharles + Fiona Watson

JoineryQuest Timber Products Ltd