design et al are delighted to announce that Richmond Bell Architects have been shortlisted for Residential Swimming Pool Award in The International Design & Architecture Awards 2019.
In 2017, Richmond Bell Architects were commissioned to design a new outbuilding and pool in the grounds of an Old Rectory near Tisbury, Wiltshire. The brief was to create a modern, heated swimming pool with a sustainable, contemporary pool house and pilates studio that would contrast with the traditional Georgian architectural style of the rectory but remain sympathetic to its rural environment. The result was a stunning, asymmetrical timber-framed building, resting on the green roof of a triple garage and plant area. The timber trusses extend through the building to create a pergola that runs the entire length of the Studio beside the pool.
The elegance of the simple pool design blends in with the gardens of the private estate. The sharp lines of the pool are surrounded by a single recessed step that provides a space for the retraction of the automatic cover, as well as the installation of lighting. Further lights under the water create a fantastic atmosphere for night-time swimming.
The Studio is externally clad with Siberian larch, which will fade to a silver-grey over time. It was cut into varying widths, an important design element that gives a natural, yet modern feel. It also conceals the guttering and rainwater goods and enables the recessing of over 85sq of solar panels, maintaining the sharp, clean lines of the building.
The variety of glazing is also key to the design of the pool house and plays an important role in integrating it into its natural surroundings. A large window wraps over the roof and extends to the ground. This, and a substantial corner window, allows the external landscape to extend through the building. Vertical slot glazing in the gable end mirrors the timber-cladding and contrasts with a narrow horizontal window on the south side.
Internally, the trusses remain exposed to enable The Studio to be opened up to its full height and recreate a traditional, barn feel. The combination of the pale wooden trusses and flooring, and the rustic, dark wooden cupboard doors and windowsills was an important design feature, enhancing the calm aura of the interior. The wood used for the doors and sills was reclaimed from the original Rectory, contributing to the sustainable ethos of The Studio.
The final part of the brief was to make The Studio as environmentally friendly as possible. The solar panels and a bio-mass boiler provide energy to heat the pool, The Studio, the Old Rectory, and the neighbouring church. All timber used in the project was from sustainable sources, and was mostly constructed off-site, reducing travel energy costs. Structurally insulated panels were fast to install, provide highly effective insulation, and were factory-produced, meaning less waste to landfill.