Birch Tree House by Susi Leeton Architects + Interiors

Susi Leeton Architects + Interiors have been shortlisted for Residential Architectural Property Award in The International Design and Architecture Awards 2020 

The aim for Birch Tree house was to create a gentle sculptural but robust family home set amongst a beautiful restful garden. The Design Brief was to create a 4 Bedroom home with various family areas maximising the long north (maximum sun) aspect leading towards a beautiful pool. The approach both internally and externally was to create a dialogue of poetic curved volumes, light and delicate details as a background canvas for a busy family life. The volumes of space are soft sculptural forms that overlap and intersect creating workable family zones both inside and out. Natural light and soft materials were selected to create a chiaroscuro of light and shade. Finishes were deliberately refined and tonal. Texture being the main player. Natural limestone, oak timber floor, polished plaster walls, linen curtains were the understated palette. The walls being polished concrete create a shimmering effect throughout every space. The gardens and the interface were utmost in the design. Inside became outside.

The aim was to reflect an understated house behind the large curved and inviting front entrance and oversized generous and welcoming front door. Susi Leeton were inspired by the sculpture of Brancusi and the soft powdery finish of his marble sculpture. The walls being soft and gentle in form create an ease of movement throughout the house.

By analysing the typology of domestic living and family zones, Susi Leeton aimed to create a beautiful flow of space to enhance harmony, bringing family together. Whilst the form was gentle, the planning and room layout was rigorous. Living zones are on the Ground Level and flow out to gardens and terraces; Bedrooms and kids Living are on the First Level and open to balconies and juliette balconies, giving extended views across. Expansive spaces and windows flood the spaces with abundant light. Birch Tree house challenges conflicting notions of modesty and luxury in an understated manner.

Sustainability was a key driver throughout the project. The building was deliberately positioned towards the north sunny aspect in southern hemisphere to maximise the seasons. The central element is the stair case which binds the house together like a ribbon and as a subtle punctuation between zones. The plans maximise the northern aspect of the property, whilst on the Ground floor, the living spaces wrap around the pool.  In particular, hand made steel arches were designed to curve around the entire Ground Floor area and pool terrace with deciduous grape vines to create both pragmatic shading and a romantic, gentle atmosphere.

Susi Leeton Architects + Interiors


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