riba awards






Sandpath David Fisher 1

ARCHITECT: adrian James architects

CLIENT: confidential

AWARDS WON: riba SOUTH award 2016,

riba south sustanability award 2016 - sponsored by sika


This is an utterly simple and delightful building that has been extremely well thought through by the architect, evidently a labour of love by a highly skilled ‘self-build’ client/project manager.

The local authority was South Oxfordshire District Council, whose planners have allowed the architects the freedom to express themselves within the constraints of the location. The elevations in particular demonstrate sensitivity with regard to their visual impact. The cantilever that achieves the half-basement level is clever, and the open plan layout maximises the apparent space, resulting in a home that feels bigger than it is volumetrically. The budget has been cleverly focused on key areas that work well and give maximum value. The green/grey stain to the cladding/windows help to soften the building, as does the use of local materials, for instance with the gabion walls which provide a solid grounding.

This is a self-build project yet the philosophy and integrity of the design has been retained. Built using SIPs panels, the elevations provide a simple and clean form in an orthogonal shape. Western Red Cedar cladding is used and will grey over time, softening the edges of the house. The house is simple yet effective and, despite the phone mast in the garden, is an attractive addition to the local community. The access is via a small lane at the front of the house and inside the home, it is pleasingly modest.

Sandpath achieves Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4. As with the design as a whole, it is an exemplar for how to achieve excellence through economy. The house has an air source heat pump for space heating. It is a standard product. This house shows how self-builders on a budget can hugely reduce their carbon footprint by thinking more and spending less. Sandpath demonstrates what can be achieved when there is an excellent relationship between client and architect, working together on a very tight budget with dedication and ingenuity. This modest house is a triumph.

CONTRACTOR: lamburn geekie


COST: confidential


PHOTOGRAPHER: david fisher

 Sandpath David Fisher 2Sandpath David Fisher 3Sandpath David Fisher 4Sandpath David Fisher 5Sandpath David Fisher 6Sandpath David Fisher 7