The client had an opportunity to acquire a charming cottage just off the centre of an historic town but only if it could be modified to be a family house. This would be the normal stuff of architectural commissions up and down the land were it not that the property is located within an AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty).

Why is this significant? Planning policies within AONB’s are formulated with a presumption against development and effectively rule out gaining permission save in a few rare circumstances. However in this case the client’s planning consultant spotted that not only was some adaption possible under Permitted Development, but also that it could be somewhat larger than expected because of an anomaly in the way the legislation is drafted.

The upshot is that this led to the client presenting a brief for a family dwelling sitting within some very exacting criteria, presenting the most  phenomenal 3 dimensional design challenge. In order to get swiftly to the nub of the issues the design was developed using SketchUp in lieu of hand sketching followed by CAD. The model was set up to precise dimensions and the components built in such a way that any part of the design could easily be adapted (a common failing of many SketchUp models is that the model has to be completely dismantled when making a change). The model form is also a more effective means of communicating design to a “lay” client, particularly in this case where there was so much 3 dimensional intertwining of parts. The ability to cut away parts for easy viewing is especially important in this respect. The views of the model were exported straight into a PowerPoint format so that the client could be presented with a step by step exposition of the design rationale.