Caring Wood

We were appointed in 2010 and after a protracted planning process, our client gained permission to build a unique single house with support buildings, new site roads and extensive landscaping of the site.

The house is built into a tall and steep bank within the countryside of Kent, inspired by the traditional oast houses dotted across the county.

The lower levels are formed in reinforced concrete and form a substantial plinth for the subsequent construction of the house superstructure. The superstructure is formed from Cross-Laminated Timber panels, the geometry of which was defined within a complex 3D model.

We designed the access roads, major earthworks, and drainage systems across the site. Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) were used extensively in the project. The 1-mile gravel made road with a filter drain alongside its length, transfers water to a large swale which serves the roof and car parking areas. Surface water is then collected to a pond which provides attenuation, releasing the water to a series of ditches and streams before discharging to the River Len. The use of multiple SuDS features ensure that the water is well treated before discharging to the local waterbodies. Furthermore, the new pond provides wider sustainability benefits to the local area, as it enhances biodiversity and promotes ecological activity within the site.

Approximately 30,000m3 of excavated material was stored and reused on site. This significantly reduced the construction trips to and from site, maintaining the construction works within the site boundary.

A potential spring was observed during one of the initial site visits. The spring was monitored for a few months, confirming that it generates a constant base flow. This area was selected for the construction of the new pond. The spring produces enough water to avoid the use of groundwater extraction or water mains. A private sewage treatment system was designed for the new development which discharges to the pond. The pond ensures that the treated effluent is diluted before discharging the local ditches, meeting the Environment Agency's requirements.

Completed 2016.

Project Information




Macdonald Wright Architects

Rural Office for Architecture




Heiko Prigge


RIBA Award 2017
RIBA House of the Year 2017
RIBA South East Award 2017
RIBA South East Sustainability Award 2017