Stepping Stone House
The existing outbuildings on this exquisite early 20th century Berkshire home were dilapidated, disconnected and flood-prone, and in 2013, the client engaged with Hamish and Lyons to transform these underutilised eyesores into a space that would be used and most importantly enjoyed by the whole family.
As well as updating the dilapidated outbuildings, a key aspect of the brief was to create a space of calm and connection with nature for the whole family, particularly five boisterous young boys aged eight to 15.
With Stepping Stone House, the key was ensuring the structures were as light as possible and this was achieved using a carefully considered material palette, including our minimal glass, glulam timbers and precisely engineered steelwork. Use of these slight, natural materials, along with abundant natural light was part of a concerted effort to create a space for the family to engage with the calming effects of nature.
Having gone through five planning applications, the family finally decided on the current design. The key to achieving the brief would be use of minimally-framed glass walls, frameless rooflights and large sliding doors, to create a space that’s not only flooded with light, but also highly customisable.
A frameless glass bridge would connect the existing house to the new structure, in order to maintain a sense of separation, while allowing movement between the buildings whatever the weather.
While our Sky-Frame sliding doors, frameless rooflights and minimally-framed walls all add their own beauty to the project, one of the most impressive pieces is the glass bridge, which is cleverly engineered to accommodate the differential movement between the two buildings – particularly difficult when one of those buildings is sitting on stilts on a bed of ever shifting silt.
To ensure the framework on the glass wall adjoining the bridge was as unobtrusive as possible, we simply removed it and bonded the glass walls directly to the bridge using structural silicone, again accommodating for movement so that the glass doesn’t simply shear as the bridge is pushed and pulled around by the movement of the buildings either side.
Of the many projects we’ve completed over almost four decades, this is one that embodies almost everything we stand for. Ultimately, our glass is all about improving lives through increased natural light and a connection with nature and all the proven health and wellbeing benefits these bring.
We’re hugely grateful to the client Hamish and Lyons for trusting us to collaborate with them on this game-changing project and hope the clients enjoy it for years to come.