A house for all seasons
Status: Completed 2009
The Sliding House is a conventional building form with unconventional detailing, radical environmental performance and a big surprise.
CollaboratorsStructural Engineer Michael Hadi Associates
Mechanical Engineer DJW Consulting Limited
Electrical Engineer Robert Hart Electrical Engineering
Our brief was for a self-build house in East Anglia for the client to retire to, grow food, entertain and enjoy the landscape.
The site offered a combination of rolling England and agricultural Holland, but it was restrained by stringent local planning parameters for rural development.
A genuine appreciation of vernacular farm buildings shared by us and the client (an enterprising actuary and motorcyclist) led to a unique take on the local timber framed and clad ‘shed’ idiom.
The Sliding House is a seemingly simple linear building, sliced into three parts: house, garage and annexe.
The separate parts are transformed by a 20-tonne mobile roof/wall enclosure which traverses the site on railway tracks. Depending on its position, it gives opportunities for enclosure, open-air living and framed views.
Movement is powered by hidden electric motors on wheels integrated into the wall thickness. The composition is further defined by material and colour: glass, red rubber membrane, and red and black stained larch.
The house sits on a concrete raft foundation; a timber-framed structure clad in larch rainscreen. Half of the house is a fully glazed aluminium structure, defining the living spaces.
The sliding roof structure is a steel frame with timber infill. It is also clad in natural larch on the outside with the same red weatherproof membrane underneath. As well as providing shade in the summer, the roof acts as an insulating layer in winter, giving the possibility of solar gain during the day but heat retention at night.
Sliding House offers radically variable spaces, sunlight and views through its innovative, responsive design.
The effect of the dynamic change as the roof moves is difficult to describe in words or images. It is about the ability to alter the building’s character, sunlight and openness according to season, weather or a remote-controlled desire to delight.
The house was the 2009 Grand Designs Awards Home of the Year, and Kevin McCloud described it is “one big stroke of genius, a crazy idea that isn’t gratuitous but a creative response to make the building highly responsive to its environment and an extraordinary place to live.”