The Elements

A Hampshire house by AR Design Studio is designed for entertaining


Martin Gardner

The Elements is a new-build house in Hampshire by Winchester-based practice AR Design Studio. Located close to the River Hamble, the 725-square-metre scheme comprises three interlocking blocks organised around a central courtyard. The brief was for a large family home, which would be suited to entertaining.


The ground floor is a shared space that is dedicated to leisure, socialising and entertainment. Designed to follow the path of the sun, the three garden zones have been carved out of the surrounding landscape. The pool, games room, gym and tennis court all receive morning light, while the courtyard becomes a sheltered sun-trap after noon, and is accessible from the entire ground floor. By the afternoon, the sun has moved to the kitchen, lounge and patio, making this side of the plan ideal for barbecues and entertaining living. Balconies and picture windows on the first floor extend views beyond the garden to the wider context.


First-floor plan


Ground-floor plan

The approach to the house is located on the shaded northern side of the plan. A wall guides visitors beneath a large cantilever into an entrance courtyard. From here, the building is accessed via a double-height space that opens onto to the main living areas and connects the guest and family blocks. Framed by two staircases and a gallery at first-floor level, the space also addresses the landscaped courtyard. Large seating areas provide ample space for guests. In the arrival hall, a generous dining table can accommodate 14 or more people. The kitchen is intended to complement the geometry of the plan, extending the line of sight from the breakfast counter through the hall towards the tennis courts.


Glazing is used extensively to blur the distinction between inside and outside, as well as facilitate views across the open-plan spaces to the gardens. A steel frame accommodates the large cantilevers and expanses of glass. Timber and brick cladding provide natural tones that are designed to complement the gardens and rural setting.


The building envelope employs high levels of insulation and airtightness. Large roof overhangs ensure passive solar shading in the summer, with sliding low-e glass panels providing passive ventilation and useful solar gain during wintertime. Ground-source heating is used in conjunction with solar thermal panels.

Additional Images


AR Design Studio
Structural engineer
Barton Engineers
Landscape Architect 
UBU Design

Vande Moortel
HH Aluminium
Tanby Pools


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