What comes to mind when you think of an English cottage? Maybe some quaint little brick buildings with thatched roofs in the rural countryside? At first glance, the "Friends House" seems to have nothing in common with this kind of historical architecture. So you'll probably be surprised to learn that it is in fact a reinterpretation of the cottage style. A striking new building in the Hampshire region shows this historically influenced architecture from a completely new side. The so-called "Friends House" sets remarkable contrasts in the green landscape with a black wooden facade.

Old meets new: cottagy style with a twist

The Spanish team of AMPS Arquitectura & Diseño took on the challenge of designing a contemporary residential home adjacent to a farm in Bentworth, a small village in the county of Hampshire.

Inspired by traditional structures and building materials, their concept paid homage to the local scenery and townscape. The architects used prefabricated cross-laminated timber elements for the double-skin facade. To create a striking contrast against the green landscape, they clad the entire exterior with black Accoya wood – from the outer walls up to the gable roof. Thanks to a special a refinement process, Accoya wood has an exceptionally long lifespan.

Floor-to-ceiling windows and large glass fronts offer unobstructed views onto the picturesque surroundings. To the south, an additional building section emerges from the otherwise straight, elongated complex. Between two bedrooms at the outer ends, the children's rooms offer an entire world of adventure with open sleeping platforms and playful furniture.

The Friends House opens up to its green surroundings in all directions. Source: Miguel de Guzmán

Natural interior with modern accents

Once you step inside, you are greeted with a bright and friendly atmosphere. Warm chestnut wood, sand-lime brick, and a Mortex floor made from mineral coating set the tone for the nature-based design. On the walls, Gira E2 switches in pure white glossy subtly accentuate the minimalist interior.

Cottage life 2.0: smart and energy-efficient

Apart from stylish and functional furnishings, the planners also placed great importance on the technological setup.

The main goal: maximum living comfort and minimal energy expenditure. For that purpose, they integrated the Gira HomeServer. This server allows the residents to connect and control a variety of smart functions, including lights and heating.

The Gira G1 thereby serves as the central operating unit. Mounted on the wall, the digital touch panel makes it easy to monitor and adjust preferred settings or linked devices.

Gira UK c/o Wandsworth, the home of Gira in the UK

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