HAPA Architects clads South Downs eco-home in charred timber

Black Timber House by HAPA Architects

Local practice HAPA Architects has used charred timber planks to clad this eco-home in Sussex, England, which features large picture windows framing views of the South Downs National Park.

Located at the end of a country lane in a conservation area, Black Timber House has been designed using materials that will cause the building to weather over time.

Black two-storey timber house with brown door by HAPA Architects
HAPA Architects intends for Black Timber House to weather over time

“The material palette has been carefully curated to patinate and weather into its surroundings, using deep-grain charred English larch, complimented with natural copper guttering and dark slate roofs to create a particularly impressive aesthetic,” said the practice.

The form of the home comprises a rectilinear base topped with a gabled upper storey, with the two intersecting and slightly offset to create a projecting overhang that shelters the entrance.

Black timber-clad exterior of house by HAPA Architects
The two-storey charred timber home has a gabled roof

The ground floor contains a large living, kitchen and dining area around a wood-burning stove, with sliding doors that open onto a covered terrace, alongside a study and utility space.

A wooden staircase leads up to the first floor, illuminated by a long, wrap-over window cut out of the gabled roof that frames the landscape and sky.

Bedroom with hanging light shade and folding internal blinds
One bedroom features folding internal shutters

Above, the en-suite main bedroom occupies the northern end of the home, with a smaller bedroom tucked alongside.

Two further bedrooms can be found at the southern end, one of which features a thin, full-height window with bespoke internal shutters.

“At ground floor, the plan is a simple box containing the heart of the home…accessed from a generous entrance hallway providing a grand opening to the rear landscape,” said the practice.

“The vaulted ceilings in the bedrooms create impressive double-height spaces, and a wrap-over window over the staircase adds some fantastic natural light and drama as the occupants climb up towards the canopy space,” it continued.

Black Timber House by HAPA Architects
Windows overlook the South Downs National Park

The black, charred timber of the exterior was achieved using the traditional Yakisugi charring method to improve its resistance to moisture and pests, and the thin planks have been laid horizontally on the ground floor form and vertically above.

The dark exterior is contrasted by pale wooden window reveals and open, light interiors, with the first floor benefitting from high ceilings beneath its gabled roof, finished in pale plaster.

Bright kitchen in South Downs with green table and blue sofa
The open kitchen, living, and dining area on the ground floor opens onto a covered terrace

Where possible, natural and surplus products have been used for fittings and carpentry, with surplus oak flooring used to create kitchen cupboards and drawers around a central zinc-topped counter.

The home was designed to achieve a high thermal and energy efficiency standard, generating its own power using photovoltaic panels and using an air source heat pump.

Elsewhere in the South Downs, UK studio Sandy Rendel Architects recently converted a barrel-vaulted steel barn into a home, with finishes that celebrate its agricultural character and aesthetic.

The photography is by Jim Stephenson.

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