Established 1992
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2014 RIBA Regional Award Winner

2014 RIBA Manser Award Nominee

Westering is a modest three-bedroom home located in the Dartmoor National Park designed by award winning architect Annie Martin. The property was specifically designed for a newly retired couple and now generates more energy than it uses! As the site is set on the edge of Dartmoor, within the National Park, a sensitive, vernacular design was required.

A gravel track, branching off the existing drive, follows the contour of the slopping ground. From the parking and drop off point, level access is provided to the entrance and first floor living spaces. From this point, the dwelling appears as though it is a one-storey building, reminiscent of a discreet agricultural barn.

The simple, pre-weathered zinc pitched roof, echoing the local granite and sky, and untreated cedar clad walls, suggestive of rural vernacular and natural surroundings, combine to reduce the visual impact of the building. The entrance and sliding glazed doors to the southeast elevation are set back to provide weather protection as well as to further reduce the apparent weight of the first floor.

The granite walled cloakroom defines the entrance, grounds the building by linking it to the retaining walls below, and houses the fireplace.

Two parallel, sloping, granite clad retaining walls create a levelled grass area at ground floor level. This allows the bedrooms and study, which are below ground, to have level access to the garden and views beyond the southwest. The walls also provide a clear division between lawn and the surrounding landscape, which would be retained as natural, maintained grassland. The largely glazed façade of the ground floor is set back by a metre to the southwest to provide beneficial solar shading and to lessen its visual impact.

The dwelling was completed in December 2012 and in 2014 the house won a Regional Award and was put forward for a RIBA Manser Award (RIBA House of the Year).

The judges noted the simple legibility of its layout, with the lower ground floor sunk into the sloping site between local granite retaining walls, putting south-facing bedrooms beneath an oversailing cedar-clad upper level of living and dining spaces. The judges' verdict: It is carried out with 'an optimism and simplicity that marry with down-to-earth detailing, avoiding the vanity detailing of chic urban houses.