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Ce que je trouve sur l'architecture ronde (et ce qu'elle m'inspire…)

Crescent house – Ken Shuttleworth


Magnifique. Je retire toutes les réserves que j’avais eu l’occasion d’exprimer dans un article précédent. La jalousie sans doute. Je trouvais certains points de déco un peu contestables, genre la table basse rectangulaire et les canapés pas terribles. On s’en fout : plus je regarde cette maison, plus je la aime très beaucoup. Son premier mérite est d’exister. Je veux dire qu’elle a été construite et finie en décembre 1997. Ses idées directrices se laissent lire facilement : un croissant-nuit, avec ses cinq chambres, un croissant-jour largement ouvert sur le paysage. Entre les deux, un couloir de circulation desservant l’ensemble. L’intégration de la cuisine et des bibliothèques dans l’épaisseur des murs est un vrai bonheur et même si je n’ai pas tout à fait compris si oui ou non une coursive courrait en hauteur, peut-être pour accéder aux toits en terrasse, tant pis : cette « Crescent house » me parait bien être un chef d’œuvre.

Enfin, enfin, enfin ! J’ai pu la localiser ce dimanche 18 janvier 2015, après encore deux heures de recherches, mais cette fois ci, fructueuses. Elle est là : 51°26’01.86 »N 1°58’06.06 »W

Crescent house (Google earth)

Crescent house (Google earth) photo 02


Le site du studio d’architecture « Make »

Crescend House - plan - Crescend-house---vue-aerienne--- Crescend-house---vue-exterieure-2---l Crescend-house---vue-exterieure-nocturne 2




En « Bonus », ce texte dont je n’ai pas trouvé la source, mais qui me parait apporter des éléments intéressants. En anglais hélas !

The Crescent House exemplifies how a novel form can fulfill the requirements of a brief better than a conventional box. As a shape, the crescent is ideally suited to personal living space, because it shelters and encloses while at the same time opening out and forging a sense of connection with the exterior world. In plan the house consists of two nested crescents tucked into the north-west corner of the site, with the convex curve providing a ‘hard’ outer edge, and the concave curve forming a ‘soft’ inner one. The outer crescent turns a solid convex wall to the nearby road and the unremarkable views beyond, and shelters the house and garden from prevailing winds. This section of the house contains the bedrooms, bathrooms and private living areas, which are lit from above.

The two crescents are connected by a curving circulation and gallery space that runs the length of the building. The main entrance door is located at one end, with doorways to the bedrooms and private living spaces along its outer perimeter. At the midway point this generous corridor opens into the inner crescent, with a huge fireplace in the outer wall marking this transition to the family living space.

The inner crescent is devoted to the family activities of cooking, eating, relaxing and playing. A spacious, multi-purpose living area occupies the entire plan and a full-height concave glass wall draws the early morning sun into the house and offers an uninterrupted prospect of the garden. The arms of the crescent extend to embrace the garden beyond, offering a sense of privacy and enclosure without confinement, and framing a view which extends to the Downs and the White Horse in the distance.

Crescent House, Wiltshire designed

by architect Ken Shuttleworth of make architects.


Dr. Ken and Seana Shuttleworth, Jo (boy) age 7, Jaime (girl) age 4 [at that time 1997]


 »It must be warm in winter, but not get too hot in summer. Reasonable energy bills are very important and it has to be environmentally friendly and low maintenance. It needs to have the potential for installing solar panels, rainwater storage and so on, when they are economically viable.  »It has to be  »low tech » without complex control. It must not leak, or be subject to flooding. All plumbing and wiring has to be accessible, not buried in walls or floors. It also needs areas that are accessible to wheelchair users.  »All walls are to be white. The building has to feel totally  »of »; its location. We are suspicious of modern boxes dumped on unsuspecting landscapes. It should have a generous hall and front door and a large fireplace as a focal point. It should be bathed in light. The overall feel should be spacious and airy, yet utilitarian and functional. It should not be lavish, profligate or precious. It has to be built for £345,000 and finished for Christmas lunch 1997 »


Wiltshire is a unique county of unspoiled, wild landscapes, rolling downs and ancient woodland. It has a most fascinating archeological heritage including the enigmatic stone circle monuments of Stonehenge and Avebury, as well as Old Sarum, Silbury Hill and many other ancient, mysterious earthworks; burial chambers of early civilization. The whole county is rich in such features which evoke immense visual and spiritual power.

The Site

The five acre site, Winterbrook, is located on the edge of the Marlborough Downs, an area of outstanding natural beauty, in the heart of Wiltshire. A road runs along the north west edge of the site beyond a shelterbelt of trees. Over the road to the north and west is a rubbish tip, recycling facility, concrete works, sewage plant and social club. A housing estate lies to the west beyond the immediate neighbouring houses. Therefore the best views are to the south and east to the White Horse and Downs. The strongest winds come from the west and northwest. The land originally was part of a farm, which later became used as playing fields during the Second World War. It was then returned to sheep grazing until 1994.

The site consisted of a house, a scattering of ram shackle outbuildings and farmland. The existing house was poorly built, out of rendered blockwork, in 1926 and subsequently converted into two flats during the war for military use. It was converted back into single usage in 1962. It had woodworm, was thermally inefficient, and had only a few views to the garden. During the demolition it was found to have no foundations. Needless to say it had little architectural merit. Across the road a RAF camp housed over 3,000 men during the war, the only remains of which was a doctor’s surgery hut built on the Winterbrook land. It is hard to envisage, but the hut was actually lived in as late as the 1960s. It was demolished as part of The Crescent House project.


The landscape concept evolved from a study of Wiltshire’s heritage and a philosophy of landscaping which is simple and calm. The emphasis is on the scale of the Wiltshire landscape rather than importing a multitude of styles and suburban herbaceous borders. The concept consists merely of meadow land, trees and spring bulbs to express the changing seasons.

The first part of the landscape design is a simple one; a 100 metre diameter circle of 100 maple trees forming a continuous edge to a new planted woodland of over 1000 English broadleaf trees. The circle contains a wild flower hay meadow of species indigenous to Wiltshire. At the edge is a mown grass walk, offering changing views of the Marlborough Downs, the White Horse and ancient earthwork. The circle, like Avebury, Stonehenge and Old Sarum is a strong architectural form. It forms a continuously curving route which links the various areas of the garden, including the orchard, the meadow, the bonfire circle and compost heap.

This is in strong contrast to an absolutely straight woodland path, which takes you through a narrow belt of existing mature woodland, parallel to the brook, which only flows in winter.

A line of mature evergreen trees provides the third element, cutting across the circle and contrasting with the deciduous circle.

The final part is a small tump rising out of the flatness of the meadow. It is built from the demolition material of the previous house, and echoes the ancient earthworks of Wiltshire. The Crescent House is pushed tightly into the north west corner of the site to maximise the longest views, on the diagonal, across the site. This reduces the area for cars to a minimum so as to preserve as much of the land for nature as possible.


The Crescent House is modest and austere. Its simple form reacts strongly with the location, reflecting the various contrasts of the site, as well as the historical context. The critical ingredients are: a variety of spaces related to their function; a response to the changing quality of natural light; sensory contact with nature and the changing seasons.

The concept is not a modern box artificially placed in a landscape, but is rooted strongly in its site. It is a series of simple forms made of white finished concrete and clear glass. Internally they create different types of space related to the type of activity. The design concept has two distinct, strongly contrasting sides. To the north west (where the house is next to the adjacent houses, the road and poorer views) it presents a solid lower, and a higher translucent, convex wall which metaphorically rejects the neighbouring buildings, increases privacy, reduces the effects of the westerly winds and contains all the private spaces. The southeast, with good views and the sun, is exactly the opposite; a concave crescent of clear glass. Containing the living spaces it reaches out to embrace the landscape and capture the garden and the views, offering maximum contact with nature. Between the two crescents is a double height gallery and circulation space.


In this, the normal approach to a country house of long drives with the house isolated in the middle of its land has been rejected. The house is tight in one corner giving maximum car-free garden space. You are squeezed through a gate; a glance to the left and right reveals the woodland strip and views the entire length of the site. Crossover the winter brook; in front, the chimney, like a marker, rises over a long convex, horizontal white wall which leads you to the right, into a gravel court. The long convex crescent wall heightens the sense of arrival and the anticipation of the entrance. A straight wall of hanging vegetation deflects the visitor, as he is led round to a view of the garden – where is the house? The position of the front door is deliberately obscure. You pivot round from the garden and walk back towards a wide, low front door, which accentuates the double height of the curving gallery beyond.

N.W. Crescent

All private spaces are contained in the fortress-like thickness of the solid convex crescent wall which, like a wraparound shield, deflects the prevailing winds, rain and the hottest effects of the sun. It is a hard solid form offering maximum protection and privacy. The convex form rejects poorer environments to the north and west. The bedrooms, bathrooms and changing rooms are smaller contemplative spaces without windows, naturally lit only from the top. The relationship with nature, while lying in bed, is focused on the sky, sunlight, stars and the sound of the rain. These private spaces are small and low and give a strong sense of intimacy, security, serenity and protection. The adjacent bathrooms are simple and austere using raw concrete troughs for washing and bathing.

S.E. Crescent

The southeast crescent is concave glass and reaches out literally to embrace the garden with open arms. It wraps around the landscape pulling it directly into the house; diffusing the barrier between inside and outside. This crescent is the Garden room, a single volume 36m across and 3.4m high. It incorporates all the daily family activities of cooking, eating, relaxing and playing. It is the social focus of the whole house and there are no divisions between the activities. Its full height concave transparent glass wall, over 4m high, bathes the room in natural light. The relationship between living and nature is direct and focused. The orientation to the south, southeast collects the welcoming early morning sun whilst providing a view of the hotter afternoon sun on the garden’s trees. The curve of the glass wall is sealed to ensure movement to the landscape is around it, to experience the form of the crescent.


The double height gallery space gently curves on plan and provides a transition space between the private spaces and the garden room. The gallery contains the main entry and exit to the outside and all internal circulation. Moving along the gallery the width reduces, squeezing the route until, at the fireplace, it explodes out into the vast horizontal space of the garden room. The fireplace, of monumental proportions, is the focal point of the gallery, and the heart and pivotal point of all the circulation of the house. At high level, an upper gallery contains storage with oblique views of the lower gallery and garden room. It is lit by translucent clearstory glazing, which sparkles in the sun. The 5.4m wall height displays works of art produced by the children.


The house has been designed to be sensitive to the environment. Over 1000 deciduous trees have been planted. Those adjacent to the house are used to reduce the chilling effects of the wind and their leaves act as shading in summer but allow sunlight through in winter. The concrete structure with masonry infill provides a very high thermal capacity, which acts as a heat store and reduces the rate of temperature change. The whole structure is externally wrapped in 100mm of CFC-free insulation to the walls, and 200mm to the roof, giving the building a very high insulation value. This minimizes heating bills, CO2 emissions and allows the building to remain cool in summer.

After careful studies, the optimum orientation of the house directed the large glazed wall to the south, southeast. This was evolved to give maximum benefit from, and enjoyment of, sunlight and passive solar gain, without overheating in summer. The first dawn rays quickly heat up the house and, as the sun moves around into the hottest time of the day, the house presents its solid and translucent faces, when the late afternoon sun is collected in the gallery. The house is fully naturally cross- ventilated and generously day lit. The chimney acts as an integral part of the natural ventilation system in summer as a passive stack.

The decision to use concrete was aided by the presence of a concrete plant directly across the road from the site. Minimal transportation was therefore involved and maximum use of local resources. In addition, recycled fill material below the slabs and secondhand timber from the old demolished house for the concrete formwork shuttering was used extensively. Also demolishing the numerous outbuildings, consolidating the dwelling into a single building and an adjacent shed, in one corner of the site, returned the maximum amount of land back to nature. The SAP rating is 85 with U values for the roof of 0.2 W/m2K and 0.3 W/m2K for the walls and 1.8 W/m2K for the glazing. The annual energy consumption of 105Wh/m2K. The building systems are designed to receive photovoltaic solar panels, rainwater storage and use of an adjacent well for water supply. After extensive studies, none of these are viable at present but it will be simply a matter of time before the connections are made.


The sparse interiors are kept bare and painted white. The ‘quality’ of fittings is less than a normal ‘semi’ – all profligate elements that are usually found in architect designed houses are simply left out. They are not relevant to the concept. The concentration of ‘quality’ is in the space itself and the relationship to light. The decision was that the fixed budget would be better spent on the spatial aspects of the building, rather than on designer taps and frills.


The quality of changing natural daylight has been a major driving force in formulating the design and was evolved through large study models. The bedrooms and bathrooms are totally top lit by a long slot against the curved northwest wall – lighting up the wall opposite from the entrance to each room. The gallery lighting is from a continuous translucent clerestory window. The full height glass wall lights the garden room. This is combined with a restrained lighting scheme, which illuminates the back wall of the garden room, accentuating the curve. All artificial light in the gallery and bedrooms comes from the glazed areas so that artificial lighting echo’s the natural lighting.


The house is white – It reflects the traditional whitewashed walls of Wiltshire buildings. The building’s continuous white curves create and accentuate the spaces, modeling the building and signaling the times of the day and seasons of the year. All surfaces of the building are white except the chimney and end shear walls-the prime structural elements, which are left as raw concrete. The floor is grey carpet. Colour is added by the loose items that are changed every season. The colours chosen are strong colours to react to the seasons, red for winter , yellow for spring, blue for summer and as a contrast Autumn is monochrome. Towels, cushions, bed linen, tablecloths, tablemats, vases, etc are faithfully changed at the end of each season. Only one colour is introduced at a time so the theme runs through the whole house.


Artwork in the Gallery is mainly by the children. Also paintings by Jenni Newman and Rose Shorrock, The main Triptych in the Garden room is by Jenni Newman.


Area 400m2. Glass wall 24m long. Overall length of garden side crescent 36m. Ceiling heights; Garden room 3.4m, Bedrooms 2.3 and Gallery 4.8m.


The project was negotiated against a fixed detailed elemental cost plan with Dove Brothers, a subsidiary of the O’Rourke Group. The design was evolved over a six-month period between the design team and the contractor and all co-ordinated drawings were issued before work commenced on site. There were only a few minor variations during construction. All the specialist subcontractors were negotiated on a similar, successful basis with the design being prepared directly with the subcontractors.


Main contractorsDoveBrothers Ltd

ConcreteO’Rourke Group

M&EDrake & Scull

Glass wallMAG

RooflightsVitral/Laird Cross

Clerestory glazingReglit

External wallCCS Scotseal


FireplaceA W Knight

MetalworkNic Greening


Property Purchased: March 1994

Concept Design: June 1994 to December 1995

Planning Application: January 1996

Planning Permission: June 1996

Start of Negotiations: July 1996

Start on Site: March 1997

Completion: December 1997

Consultants Structural Engineers:

Ove Arup and Partners

Tony Fitzpatrick

Adrian Falconer

Services Engineers:

Roger Preston and Partners

Trevor Farnfield

Kevin Reed

Chris Munn

Quantity Surveyor:

Davis Langdon and Everest

Paul Morrell

Erland Rendell


Dove Brothers

Ray O’rourke

Andy Holt

Ken Shuttleworth

Born in 1952, Ken studied at Leicester Polytechnic and received a Diploma in Architecture with Distinction in 1977. Ken became a registered architect in 1978. In 1994 he received an Honorary Doctorate from De Montfort University.

Ken joined Foster Associates in 1974 whilst still a student. After an architectural study tour of the USA and Canadahe returned to Foster Associates in 1977. He became Director in 1984 and Partner in 1991.

While at Foster and Partners, Ken had responsibility for all aspects of design on significant projects such as the Hong Kong and Shanghai Headquarters and more recently the Swiss Re Headquarters in London.

Ken serves on the Editorial Board of Building Magazine and became a CABE commissioner in 2002 and a chair of the CABE design review team in 2004.

Ken left Foster and Partners to found make in January 2004. Since its set up, the practice has grown rapidly and worked on various projects across the UK and abroad including urban planning and regeneration schemes, commercial, residential, mixed use and educational developments.



D’autres photos là, mais qui rabachent un peu.

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Cette entrée a été publiée le 21 septembre 2015 par dans Architecture ronde, et est taguée , , , , .
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