Back to the Brick Bulletin

The Knoll, Cheshire

By George Spreckley
The Knoll002

The Knoll is a new build home located in Mouldsworth village, 8 miles north of Chester. Originally purchasing the site with outline planning permission and undertaking their first self-build project the clients’ brief was to build a contemporary home that was harmonious with the location and the wider surrounding context, without resorting to pastiche. Occupying a former small family orchard, this new build house benefits from elevated views across the adjacent fields and Welsh mountains beyond. To the rear, the setting is dominated by mature woodland and hedge rows. This condition became the driver for the design approach whereby the main rooms were orientated towards the view to the rear and the setting sun. Nestled on the top of a hill, the house sits alongside archetypal new build in fill developer housing. The response to this context led to the imperative to provide protection of privacy for internal and external spaces, whilst affording careful consideration of the relationship to the sun and changes in level across the site. Analysis of these conditions informed the development of the massing and the section. The house relates to the context of the neighbouring houses with their Cheshire red brickwork and slate roofs tiles through the adoption of similar materials. Working with its own architectural language; the house is organised as two distinct massing elements which vary in sectional relationship and orientation, emerging from a shared base. Conceived as two uniform brick forms which collect together in a formal relationship. 

The connections between these forms are designed as expressed volumes so that each piece is distinct and legible; the detailing is carefully considered to support a strong elemental quality to these forms. Deeply recessed windows express the weight and mass and work in counterpoint to subtle brick detailing; recessed horizontal mortar joints, flush perpends and stepped brick panels. With the superstructure completed by a main contractor, the clients tackled the interior of the project themselves taking ownership of the project through to completion. Completed over two years and a global pandemic the success of the project is down to the determination and perseverance of the clients when faced with such uncertainty.

Brick Manufacturer: York Handmade Brick Company 

Architect: Smith Young Architects 

More bulletins

Subscribe to the Brick Bulletin

Keep up to date with the latest in clay brick architecture