A Quest For Simplicity Ends With The Perfect Retirement Home

Not all quests belong in the fantasy world. Some are as real as they can get. For architects, each project is a new quest, a new challenge and an opportunity to create something unique. This is a notion that guided creative minds behind The Quest, a residence located in Swanage, UK. The building was designed by Strom Architects, a studio based in Hampshire. For them, every project starts with a blank page and no pre-conceived notions of how a house should be like.

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The house is surrounded by nature on all sides, sitting on a site populated by large trees
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The building sits on a steep slope and copes with its topography through a simple and practical design

The house is build on a steeply-sloped site which was previously occupied by a bungalow built in 1917. The only reminder of the old structure is a stone wall. The clients wanted this house to be their new home after retirement, a place where they can retreat to enjoy a peaceful and relaxed life. They didn’t want it to look old, like a typical grandma’s house. They preferred instead a modern design inspired by abstract art.

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The site is populated with mature trees which had to be preserved and this gave the architects less freedom
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The design and orientation are meant to maximize the views and the intake of natural sunlight

The clients and the architects agreed that an unconventional design would be best suited for what they had in mind. The house was completed in 2015. It covers an area of 235 square meters and it cantilevers over the slope, using the old stone wall as a support. A single-storey design was the option that best suited the clients’ future needs. It was also an option that appealed to them from an aesthetic point of view.

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Stone, wood and glass are the main materials used throughout. They complement each other harmoniously
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The stone wall supports the cantilevered volume and serves as a protective shell for the parking space
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A single-storey design was prefered, being the most suitable option for the clients’ requirements

The site has lots of large trees on it and all of them had to be preserved and protected. That meant that the architects had to work around them. In a way, the trees and the steep slope are the things that dictated the positioning and the orientation of the house. In the end, the house was oriented towards the valley, a decision based on the views and the need for more natural light.

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An open plan volume stands at the center of the house. It contains the kitchen, dining and living spaces
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The social functions are arranged in a like and they’re flanked by a terrace spanning the length of the volume

From the living spaces the inhabitants can admire clear views of the valley and of the Durlston Country Park. An open plan volume occupies the central portion of the house. It includes the kitchen, dining and living spaces which are organized in a line, a large terrace spanning the entire length of this volume. An array of neutral and bright colors was selected to the interior decor and they were combined with natural materials and large sliding glass doors and windows.

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The living area is framed by a large sectional and by panoramic views of the surrounding landscape

The Eastern end of the house contains the guest areas and the studies while the master suite is placed at the opposite end, in the cantilevered space. The overall design lacks unnecessary features, a basic and simple look suiting the needs and preferences of the clients a lot better.