Cefn Castell by stephenson STUDIO
Cefn Castell is a family home nestled among the remains of an ancient stone cottage in the Welsh town of Criccieth. The three-bedroom residence is designed by stephenson STUDIO, a Manchester-based architectural studio. The house features a composition inspired by the owner’s interest in abstract art and it also overlooks the Cardigan Bay which makes for some very interesting views.
As it is easily noticeable, the design takes cues from the owner’s love of linear patterns and block colors that are present in abstract art.
The sea views are made possible by the large expanses of transparent glass walls, framed by sections of white walls. This defines the house into a series of boxes mirroring the floor plan.
From the architects: “Cefn Castell is a new build contemporary family home on an isolated cliff top location overlooking Cardigan bay in Criccieth North Wales. It is a replacement for a dilapidated 400 year old former cottage that stood on the site. The new house is designed using solid, void and frame as new elements in glass and render, with the backdrop of a monumental natural stone wall constructed from the remains of the existing cottage which envelopes the new house. The plan maximises panoramic views from each room, and also links a series of inner spaces internal to external via the use of expansive sliding glazed screens.”
“The site is remote occupying a spectacular panoramic view location overlooking Cardigan Bay. The clients’ brief was to provide a family home with three bedrooms maximizing the views and unique nature of the location. The clients’ passion for art and sculpture was to be referred to in the design. The house plan is abstracted as a Mondrian inspired painting, which is hung at the heart of the house. The stone remains of a 400 year old cottage were re-used for the new boundary wall offering privacy and textural contrast of the ‘traditional’ juxtaposing ‘the new’. The new house separates from the wall with a glass slot roof, visually suggesting the house delicately “kisses” the wall.
All rooms enjoy a view to the panorama beyond the site as well as intimate views internally visually linking spaces through the floor plans inside to out. Visual links are abundant through the plan via pivot doors which compartment spaces down on their closure. A sliding glass screen opens to the external secluded courtyard into the plan of the living spaces. Two bedrooms have been arranged to provide closure of the plan to the private inner courtyard. The bedrooms are located to act as a retreat away from severe weather conditions. “
“At first floor is a master bedroom and en-suite. A glazed wall overlooks the sea and coastline. The en-suite bath projects out from the plan for sea and sky views. From the bedroom, further views back across the fields, to the mountains and Criccieth Castle are on offer from the stairwell via glass slot windows.
The new house is a defining and epoch making change to what existed previously. The Local Planning Authority were fully supportive from the pre-planning consultation and duly granted consent by delegated powers. They recognized the rigor of the design and theory which fully complied with current planning policy. Elevations are about framing, layering of materials and solid and void. A steel frame structure and combination of rendered masonry and lightweight timber frame construction allowed for the large expanse openings to be created. The extrusion of the first floor references the maritime theme of coastal observation stations, whilst massing up the approach view of the house set within its own private walled courtyard.
A parking courtyard provides hardscape surfaces with views out onto the large lawned garden area to the sea view. The plan of the house is extruded out to form an external terrace area with a level change of approximately 300mm. “