Ström Architects designs a country
house protruding over a wall


These renderings depict a house designed by Ström Architects for the English town of Swanage, with a cantilevered section that shelters a parking space (+ slideshow).

The Quest in Swanage bt Strom Architects

Hampshire-based Ström Architects was asked to design the home, called The Quest, for a wooded site overlooking a country park, replacing an existing single-storey dwelling. The brief was to make the most of the views while minimising the impact on the sensitive scenic location.

The Quest in Swanage bt Strom Architects

To simplify the planning process and maintain the original property's modest presence, architect Magnus Ström chose to match the height of the old house but rotate the plan to improve views through the surrounding trees.

The Quest in Swanage bt Strom Architects

Limiting the property to one level also fulfills the request of the retired clients for an accessible home with open-plan living areas where they can entertain their children and grandchildren.

The Quest in Swanage bt Strom Architects

"The clients are in their seventies and wanted a comfortable house without internal stairs," Ström told Dezeen. "A single-storey house was therefore something that we quickly established as a real benefit."

The Quest in Swanage bt Strom Architects

To ensure that a driveway full of cars does not spoil views from the house towards the park or from the park back towards the house, the architect will made use of the sloping site by locating the parking area out of sight on the lower front section of the plot.

"We took advantage of the big level difference on the site so that cars can enter across the site, and park to the left of a retaining wall that separates service areas and the garden," explained Ström.

The Quest in Swanage bt Strom Architects

The long retaining wall will support cantilevered concrete slabs that will project over the parking space.

Materials will reflect the simplicity of the structure, with the concrete planes sandwiching timber walls and glass walls filling in the gaps around the facade.

The Quest in Swanage bt Strom Architects

The concrete slabs will be left exposed on the exterior and complemented by retaining walls and a chimney breast made from local Purbeck stone.

The home's internal layout will be configured with bedrooms at either end and the open-plan kitchen, living and dining area located in the centre of the building.

The Quest in Swanage bt Strom Architects

Steps along the rear wall of the parking area will ascend to the main entrance, while an alternative parking space at the rear of the plot on the same level as the house could be used in future to provide step-free access.

The design was granted planning permission earlier this year and construction is scheduled to begin in August.

The Quest in Swanage bt Strom Architects

Ström Architects commissioned visualisation specialists Henry Goss and Peter Guthrie to produce the renders. These have the same naturalistic detailing as those used to promote the studio's previous projects, including a timber-clad two-storey holiday home and a property in Suffolk proposed over the ruins of a burned-down building.

The Quest in Swanage bt Strom Architects

Magnus Ström previously told Dezeen that investing in high-quality renders is "more effective than advertising", while architect and visualiser Henry Goss explained how he believes renderings are becoming indistinguishable from real photographs.

Here's a project description from Ström Architects:

The Quest, Swanage, UK

The Quest is a replacement dwelling in Swanage, UK. Planing permission was granted earlier this year, and we are aiming to start construction this August.

The Quest in Swanage bt Strom Architects
Floor plan - click for larger image

The site is heavily wooded and enjoys a beautiful south aspect with a view over the Durlston Country Park. We early established the advantages of a single-storey building which helped from a planning point of view, as the proposed building is no higher than the existing and it allowed a simple arrangement of space suiting the clients' brief of a house for their 'retirement'. At the same time, the design reduces the visual impact from across the valley when looking back towards the house.

The Quest in Swanage bt Strom Architects
North elevation

The sloping site with protected mature trees very much dictated the positioning of the dwelling. Vehicular access is via the front of the property and we separated vehicles and entrance from the landscaped garden through a retaining wall that defines different levels. This arrangement also ensures cars are hidden out of sight, so that the view south is maximised.

The Quest in Swanage bt Strom Architects
East elevation

The single storey house, cantilevers over the retaining wall and provides protection to the car park and entrance. The large cantilever of the house is achieved through two concrete planes, the floor and roof acting together like a space beam. The concrete structure is then in-filled with simple timber dry-lining, leaving the concrete frame visible externally.

The Quest in Swanage bt Strom Architects
South elevation

The external retaining walls and chimney breast will be in local Purbeck stone.

The Quest in Swanage bt Strom Architects
West elevation
  • Very nice renderings. I wonder which engine they use?

  • Marcus

    Any idea what software was used?

    • Stiletto

      Peter Guthrie uses Sketchup, 3dsmax and Vray. But then again, doesn’t really matter what you use, it’s how you use it.

  • seb

    Remember to insulate the soffit.

    • CadBaboon

      No need. Schock do a neat thermal break called “Isokorb”.

    • Strom Architects

      Concrete is “cold”. The house is dry-lined on the inside so no need to insulate soffits.

  • Chris MacDonald

    As much as I genuinely like Peter Guthries’ stuff, this isn’t his best, though that could, and probably is down to a really quite dull design.

    • Gavin Berriman

      What the s**t are you even talking about?!

      • Chris MacDonald

        I’m not entirely sure what you’re so upset about.

        • Gavin Berriman

          ‘Quite dull design’… I get upset that people, such as yourself, see Dezeen articles as a platform to criticise EVERYTHING. What’s dull about this?

          • Chris MacDonald

            You’re discounting the many myriad compliments and praise I and many others have levelled at many, many other designs.

            What’s worth getting excited about in this design then, pray tell?

  • So nice to see renders that depict something with the patina of age and natural weathering on rather than the usual immaculate brand new type with that sickly high gloss feeling.

  • Guest

    The rendering wonderkids strike again! I’ve been following Dezeen’s coverage of photo-realistic renderings and I’m always shocked at how much detail visualisation artists get into their images.

    I’d love to see these guys have a go at creating rendered images of places that don’t exist anymore – due either to natural disaster or war. I think it would be an interesting project and a wonderful way to showcase their skill.

    • Chris MacDonald

      Then you need to Google “Bertrand Benoit”. His renders are insanely realistic, he includes scratches and fingerprint smudges on his materials.