Allister Godfrey Green Belt

Our client approached us with a plan to convert an existing workshop building, from a previous family business, into a dwelling that he would self-build. Nestled on the edge of private woodland in Oxford’s Green Belt, the plot has expansive views overlooking the hills and valleys west of Oxford.

Green Belt Policy normally precludes building new dwellings in open countryside. However, where there are substantial non-domestic buildings available for re-use, there can be exceptions. We utilised the existing 65m2 footprint to allow for a dwelling with a mono-pitched dormer roof. The use of a steel frame gave us the flexibility to play with the internal volumes. Open plan, double height space for living on the ground floor creates a sense of space and openness that belies the compact nature of the house.

The mix of timber cladding and coated metal sheeting is both a nod to the backdrop of the woodland and the former industrial use of this part of the site. Our client was keen to ensure the build was as sustainable as possible. An air source heat pump provides heating, the sewerage system discharges into a reed bed. Even the coating on the cladding is bio-based, using rape seed oil instead of fossil oil.

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