Vicarage Farm shortlisted for the RIBA 2023 South East Awards

Hollaway Studio based in London and Hythe was tasked with a challenge of creating a substantial extension to Vicarage Farm, an early Victorian building in the middle of nine acres in the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which was both timeless and sympathetic to the original vicarage, while being of a scale and design dramatic enough to sit within this grand context.

The resultant design of Vicarage Farm, located about 4 miles from Hythe, has now been shortlisted for the RIBA 2023 South East Awards.

Holloway Studio Transforms Vicarage Farm — Where the New Facilitates the Old Within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Approached down a long tree lined driveway, Vicarage Farm is unique as it sits in the middle of its plot surrounded by fields.

As its name suggests it was formerly a farm, with the farm house, which dates from the 1830s, comprising formal brick walls, a slate roof, generous white sash windows with views across the landscape, and original canopied porch, fireplaces and box shutters. 

It has had little disruption over time other than a failing single storey 1990s annexe extension and conservatory which Hollaway Studio removed and replaced with their double height wraparound design.

Hollaway Studio’s contemporary extension subtly announces itself on arrival to the property from the driveway.

Floating roof

A floating roof sits behind the primary brick façade on one side with the crittall style orangery resting beneath. On following the driveway around, the full extent of the matt black feather edge timber clad extension reveals itself.

A significant two storey rear extension folds around the main house, encompassing  new living, dining and utility spaces; a swimming pool; carport and garage; and a master-suite on the first floor. The new extension connects with the original building so that it is all joined.

Reverse tardis

While Hollaway Studio’s addition appears big it resembles a ‘reverse tardis’ as the interior does not feel so cavernous and remains in keeping with the original building.

While the gross internal area (GIA) of the existing house measure 187sqm, Hollaway Studio’s first floor and pool extension comes in at 273sqm with the GIA of the garage and carport adding an additional 80sqm.

The expanse of light absorbing façade, with its rough deep timber cladding, envelopes the crisp polished concrete interior. Flashes of scaffold board internal wall cladding, T&G ceilings and a plywood kitchen add to the richness of textures on display internally.

The glass walls of the new extension disappear away from the corners, allowing for seamless uninterrupted movement from inside to outside.  A large rooflight separates the new from the old,  allowing each architectural style to co-exist harmoniously alongside each other  and offering a moment of drama in considering Vicarage Farm in its new totality. 

Vicarage Farm from the air

Upstairs, the master bedroom is approached past a lightwell connecting all the way up through the building and sharing light with the hallway. The master-suite builds on lessons from the old, with timber shutters to the windows and deep reveals which frame views to strategic locations within the garden and wider landscape.

The new facilitates the old

The kitchen noticeably sits within the old structure but willingly opens itself to the new dining and living spaces allowing the uses to blend together. The large external terraces resolve the geometry of the low box hedges and formal gardens, inviting them to interact and spill over the new stark concrete finishes. In painting the extension matt black it mirrors the original barns, some of which date from the medieval era on the site, further bringing together old and new.

Vicarage Farm marks another example of Hollaway Studio’s dedication in bringing together the contemporary with the traditional to co-exist in both a complementary and elevating aesthetic.

By Ed

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