The wild rural landscape extends up over the roof of this riverside house in Suffolk, England, which was designed by British firm Soup Architects with walls built from handmade bricks (+ movie).
Named Broombank, the house by Soup Architects is accessed by a long, narrow lane and set into a marshy bank of the River Alde in Suffolk, with broad views that unfold from the entrance.
"The client wanted the house to have a bold, almost urban entrance that gave little away of the landscape beyond," architect Patrick Walls told Dezeen.
"That view is kept and created by the front entrance. Upon entrance, you move through to the main living space, which then opens out to the wide landscape," he said.
The two-storey house, which replaces a poorly extended home on the site, was designed for a woman with two children, who shares the property with her partner.
"She splits her time between London and Suffolk, and has done so for the last 15 to 20 years, so the main aim of the project was to consider the next major phase in life as the family grows," explained Walls.
"The brief was to create a more substantial, flexible house in Aldeburgh to spend a greater amount of time with family and friends."
The lower level is clad in handmade bricks, made by Danish company Petersen. The sedum roof slopes down to meet the landscape, helping to ground the building into the surrounding marshland.
"We settled quickly on the idea that the ground floor would sit into the banks of the sloped site, and that the more compact first floor would sit on top like two white sugar cubes," said Walls.
Inside, an oak-lined entrance hall conceals storage and features a corner of glazing that wraps up the front of the house and over the ceiling to bring natural light into the centre of the plan.
This space leads through to a large open-plan kitchen and dining space, with a living room at the side. Glass sliding doors stretch the width of this space and open on to a terrace, which is partially sheltered by a section of the floor above.
A restrained palette of materials was used in the living space, including a concrete floor that was colour-matched as closely as possible with the exterior bricks.
"From the outset we always knew that the greenery, the tall grasses and the sky would be very important elements within the space, and so to counter that we have tried to create a very cool and very calm interior space that's quite neutral," said Walls.
A yellow kitchen island was added to enliven the living rooms. "We wanted it to work as a focal point within the loose living space – an anchor between the landscape and the calm interior palette," said Walls.
A sliding oak wall allows the occupants to close the living space off from the entrance hall, which also has three bedrooms and two bathrooms arranged around it.
A white powder-coated steel staircase leads upstairs. Glass balustrades are fixed into the bottom of the stairs, which avoided the need for a handrail at the top.
The top floor has a master bedroom and bathroom on one side of the stairwell, and a snug on the other side, which serves as an alternative living space and opens onto a terrace, offering more expansive views of the river and marshland.
The snug also doubles as a guest bedroom when required, and features an internal balcony overlooking the entrance hall to improve connections between the two floors.
At the back, a long pool has been lined with black tiles so that it appears deeper and creates reflections of the sky on the surface.
"The pool was included within the brief at the outset and this allowed us to consider it as an integral part of the house and landscape," said Walls. "Its position against the sloped bank works well in drawing the eye out towards the view."
Solar water panels on the roof provide hot water for the house, and the sedum roof helps to insulate it. The concrete flooring also helps to create even temperatures year-round by naturally soaking up heat and releasing it as temperatures drop, while a mechanical ventilation and heat recovery system further minimises the need for additional heating.
Architects: Soup Architects
Structural engineer: BTA Structural Design
Quantity surveyor: Baillie Knowles Partnership
Landscape design: Christine Hatt
Building contractor: Robert Norman Construction