AR Design Studio | Contemporary Architects Winchester 01962 864545


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AR Design Studio is an award-winning RIBA certified contemporary architectural practice, based in Winchester, Hampshire, specialising in elegant modern new homes, extensions, renovations and multi-plot developments.

AR Design Studio's Latest Project - Water Lily House (Paragraph 79)

Water Lily House(1)

Winchester based architects, AR Design Studio, have submitted plans for a new build ‘Paragragh 79’ (formally Paragraph 55) floating house in rural Hampshire.


Total GIA 505m2


Design Team
Marine Engineers - Keel Marine
Energy Consultants – Mesh Energy
Landscape Architect – Ibbotson Studios
Planning Consultant – Planit Consulting
Ecology Consultant – Arcadian Ecology & Consulting

Water Lily House(2)

Entitled The Water Lily House, the house floats atop an existing disused reservoir that once served the surrounding fields. The design is derived from the initial concept of a floating lily pad, the proposal appears to delicately float upon the water.

Considering the lack of biodiversity on the reservoir, the design team saw this as an opportunity for the lake to become an asset to the site by improving the quality of the existing reservoir and the relationship between land and water.

Biodiversity not only informs the surrounding context, but also the initial concept, leaning heavily on a symbiotic relationship between the building and site. This has been distilled within the design process, and from this the form of the water lily emerged, the plant itself playing an important role in enhancing the ecosystems of pond life.

Water Lily House(3)

The scheme mimics the lily’s qualities. The plant works to keep the temperature down by the shade cast by the leaves, helps to keep algae growth down and gives shelter from both the sun and predators to the pond life inside. The lily serves to protect the life which sustains it, and the house aims to replicate this behaviour.

The sitting of the proposal offers the opportunity to take full advantage of the 360 degree panoramic views of the site. The design responds with a radial form, comprising of a series of compartmentalised ‘pods’. Each are orientated to capture specific views within the site, that are further enriched by a detailed landscape design scheme.

Water Lily House(4)

The two primary living spaces, the lounge/kitchen/dining and the sitting room, have long views over the lake and the open countryside fields. The access to the house is situated at the eastern point of the reservoir, to allow access to from main drive and the proposed garage. The two bedroom ‘pods’ face the more intimate gardens, allowing privacy through shorter views. Extensive full height glazing allows connectivity between the internal and external spaces, whilst feature windows frame individual aspects of the surroundings.

Water Lily House(5)

At the centre of the house is the courtyard around which is the main circulation. The roof from each of the pods tapers towards this courtyard, allowing it to open up towards the sky. The space offers a sense of intimacy that contrasts with the expansive views over the reservoir that features in the rest of the house.

The Water Lily House is accessed via a footbridge from the entrance courtyard and proposed garage. The garage is hidden within the existing bank of the reservoir, in order to minimise the visual impact on the site. The guest bedrooms to the north will face a sculpture garden with an associated boardwalk, which is screened from the main road by an existing hedge as well as proposed planting. To the south of the house, a swimming pond links to a floating reed bed and jetty, allowing boats to be moored.

Water Lily House(6)

The building responds to the site and the defining characteristics of the local area with a contemporary approach that has resulted in the analysis of materials similar to those used in the surrounding agricultural vernacular. Metal cladding was explored, a bronze tone having a distinctive appearance. Though not an exact material match, the tones were found to correspond with the existing buildings. The suitability of metal cladding considering the moist environment was also researched, with the proposed material controlling the patina on its surface, avoiding corrosion of the material itself.

To compliment this, timber details are used, mimicking the use of timber cladding in the agricultural context. Where susceptible to weathering, the saturation of the timber will mute over time while the durability is maintained.

Water Lily House(7)

The Water Lily House is unique in its design, providing an innovative dwelling in an otherwise underutilised site. The immediate surroundings will be significantly enhanced, with the remodelling of the existing reservoir and addition of sensitive landscaping.

Read more about the project here

AR Design Studio is an RIBA chartered architects practice, based in Winchester, Hampshire, specialising in elegant and imaginative contemporary new homes, extensions, renovations and multi-plot developments. AR Design Studio’s architectural expertise and flair has been recognised by winning a number of prestigious industry awards including the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) South East 2018 Award, the RIBA South West Award 2017, American Architecture Award 2017 and the UK Property Awards 2017, in addition to being longlisted for Grand Designs House of the Year Award 2018. With a comprehensive knowledge of planning, AR Design Studio has built a stunning portfolio of bespoke residential projects.

Andy Ramus