Likewise, in Hertfordshire, UK, architects Tate Harmer have created “a new cottage vernacular that’s rooted in the agriculture history of area”, says Harmer. His firm has replaced a bungalow with Kintyre, a low-energy family home that draws on the nearby pared back, utilitarian farm buildings and thatched dwellings, with their low eaves, dormer windows and little gables popping out of the roof. “We started to merge the two elements.”
Instead of traditional roof tiles, he has wrapped the timber cladding of the walls over the entire building. The wood, which will turn silver over time, is made watertight by the rubber membrane beneath. “Materials technology has moved on, and this roof does the same job as tiles,” he adds.
The more extreme the countryside, the more daring the possibilities, it seems. In the Mexican region of Nuevo Leon, Narigua House is divided into three stacked volumes jutting out from the mountainside. Architect David Pedroza Castañeda of local firm P+O describes it as “a stone work humbly placed in an impressive landscape of old cedar trees. It has an incredible landscape that translates to incredible views from inside the house, and specific colours, forms and vegetation that demanded a dialogue from the architectural volumes.”