Black House is a private new build house in the English countryside in Kent and was completed in the summer of 2017 by AR Design Studio.
They built a contemporary dream home, drawing inspiration from both historic and modern buildings in Kent. The concept was formed after the design team and clients embarked on an architectural tour of Kent.
The idea for the floating parts of Black House was inspired by Sissinghurst Castle Garden, home of writer Vita Sackville-West.
There the castle gardens are broken up into a series of individual experiences that are hidden from each other by hedges and red brick walls. Only from a single room in the central tower can the whole design and therefore the way that the whole design is interconnected be seen.
The concept consisted of making a connection between earth (facing brick) and air. This idea is reinforced by the fact that only the structural components constructed in brick touch the ground while all those constructed in timber float in the air. The clay soil was the reason for choosing to use brick which reinforces the concept even more. The horizontality of the facing bricks contrasts with the verticality of the timber which also strengthens the connection between earth and air.
Black House is divided into compartments by axes and each volume is linked to an aspect of the garden. The volumes were separated from each other in order to create a central courtyard with a cantilevering roof to tie all the individual modules together.
The dominating dark colours give a nod to the historic huts in Hastings, England, and the traditional black clad houses in Dungeness on the south coast in Kent. AR Design Studio chose the subtly shaded Hand-Made Linea 6012 as the facing brick on account of its long and narrow format as well as its colour and texture which fit the concept perfectly.
As the colour of the facing brick is lighter than the black wood, it ties in with the colour of the windows and the timber cladding. The dark grey facing brick also blends beautifully with the tones that have been used both inside and outside. Linea 6012 was used for various interior walls. The open fireplace is also constructed entirely in the facing brick, both inside and the chimney on the outside.
Floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors provide expansive views of the orchard and vineyard while there is a panoramic view of the front garden from the dining room.
The various rooms in the house are all connected by the central courtyard, an area of extensive glazing allowing light and fresh air to continually penetrate the house and provide year-round sheltered outdoor space.