i-build discusses a garage design with a difference with Architect Damien Blower.
How did you combine the original building’s style with the new garage?
The materials used relate to the main listed house – timber and clay tile, and tie in with the pre-existing curtilage listed garage. The new structure was meant to both complement but contrast with the older structure.
What was the design brief?
To design a four-bay garage as the existing garage could only fit one car.
Why a rounded garage?
The curved shape was meant to reduce the visual impact. Taking the corners off narrows the building from view within the setting of the garden around the house. The curve also contrasts with the earlier structures, such that there is no confusions between new and old – a curved building is not usual in the Surrey vernacular.
How was the planning permission process?
Reasonably straightforward as the heritage officer was an early advocate of the design approach and helped get the proposal across the line – the previous owner had tried to get planning for a three-bay garage but had been refused. This is a good example of how a purposeful design and early consultation with planning officers can unlock value.
How does the building respond to its surrounding landscape?
From wider views, it was meant to appear a subservient garden building like a coach house and fit within the tradition of the Surrey vernacular. From closer views, it was meant to be quite subtly contemporary.
What challenging aspects were there to the project?
The curved structural design was both the most challenging but also the most triumphant part.
How did you approach material and product specification?
Using materials and craft traditions local to the area.
Are there particular materials that you would recommend to others looking to renovate?
The doors were a key part of the design, as they fold away in a James Bond way.
How long did the project take?
What advice would you offer to anyone looking to renovate or self-build?
Engage early with planning officers and neighbours if you think it might be contentious. Use an architect in the early value-add stages, even if you prefer to manage as much as possible, the expense of a specialist in those first steps can be priceless.