Simon Whibley Architecture completed the design and development of the Diagonal House, a lovely family crib meeting the living needs of a family of five in Fitzroy, Australia: “Seen in plan, the diagonal house’s singular gesture is a rhomboid volume, a kind of spatial easement that subdivides the site, creating courtyards on either side of the dining and living space. With its northern edge pulled upwards and its southern downwards, viewline and sunlight are drawn through the house on this diagonal axis, to the extent that afternoon winter sun extends all the way through the house, crossing the courtyard, to the edge of the existing master bedroom.” During the summer, this plan allows cross ventilation from the southern courtyard to the north.
Breeziness, both spatial and sensory, is experienced from the functional and personal spaces located at the periphery: “The study, kitchen/pantry, bathroom and bedrooms are tightly composed-like extensions or fragments of the Victorian house plan. In opposition to the dynamic space at its centre, the views from these rooms are aligned towards the more intimate spaces at the edges of the site. In this way, aspects of the existing dwelling are reinterpreted in the new and used to provide different kinds of space over a small area. This allows the substantial brief of a young family of 5 to be accommodated without a large footprint.” [Photography by Peter Bennetts]
What is new and exciting now can quickly begin to look tired and out of fashion, so the best buildings don’t just consider what will be interesting to look at now, but also how it might look to people in five, fifty or even a hundred years’ time. 2013’s hotly contested RIBA Stirling Prize went to Witherford Watson Mann Architects for their work on Astley Castle, Warwickshire. In what RIBA Past President Stephen Hodder has described as an extreme retrofit, the project essentially saw a new building inserted subtly into the heart of the old, with a new, two storey residence now hidden within the sandstone walls of the ruins of this medieval castle, to be used as a holiday home for up to eight guests
These days, a building doesnt just have to look good, it should ideally be good for the environment too. A great example of sustainability spliced with style from the past few years is the M&S store at Cheshire Oaks Retail Park in Ellesmere Port, designed by Aukett Fitzroy Robinson.