Beautiful eco-house in rural Bedfordshire

Meadowview House-01-1 Kindesign

Meadowview house, designed by Platform 5 Architects, is situated on the edge of a ribbon development village in rural Bedfordshire, United Kingdom and is surrounded by mature trees, hedgerows and arable fields.  The first floor, clad in sweet chestnut, overhangs a solid masonry and glass plinth; from across the fields, it looks like it is floating over the hedgerows.  Internally, the living spaces are arranged to relate to different garden spaces and the wider landscape. The house incorporates sustainable technologies such as rainwater recycling, mechanical ventilation with heat recovery and photovoltaics on the roof.  The landscaping forms a transition between the domestic and agricultural environments.

Meadowview House-02-1 Kindesign

Meadowview House-03-1 Kindesign

Meadowview House-04-1 Kindesign

The sweet chestnut clad box overhangs the ground floor so that from across the fields it looks like it is floating over the hedgerows.  The deep recessed balcony acts like a lens hood, framing sunsets over the countryside.

Meadowview House-05-1 Kindesign

A meandering route through the house creates a sequence of gradually more private internal and external spaces.  The entrance hall offers visitors views straight through the house to the pavilion in the back garden whilst screening off the living areas.  As you progress though the ground floor, the space expands into a double height living room that is overlooked by the first floor study.  From the living room, you can gain access to the courtyard garden where more delicate plants can grow protected from the wind and cold.

Meadowview House-06-1 Kindesign

Meadowview House-07-1 Kindesign

Meadowview House-08-1 Kindesign

Meadowview House-09-1 Kindesign

To the rear of the house, swathes of long grasses and meadow flowers are animated by the breeze giving the terrace a wharf-like feel.  An area of the garden is given over to food production in raised beds, providing all of the household’s fruit and veg over the summer months.

Meadowview House-10-1 Kindesign

The concept of a hovering building is continued into the details of the ash tread stair that is cantilevered off the wall in the entrance hall.

Meadowview House-11-1 Kindesign

Meadowview House-12-1 Kindesign

Meadowview House-13-1 Kindesign

Meadowview House-14-1 Kindesign

The house is well insulated, fitted with photovoltaic panles and also incorporates mechanical ventilation with heat recovery to reduce heat losses whilst a rainwater harvesting tank supplies water to the WC’s and the garden irrigation system.

Meadowview House-15-1 Kindesign

Meadowview House-16-1 Kindesign

Meadowview House-17-1 Kindesign

Meadowview House-18-1 Kindesign

Meadowview House-19-1 Kindesign

Meadowview House-20-1 Kindesign

Meadowview House-21-1 Kindesign

Meadowview House-22-1 Kindesign

Meadowview House-23-1 Kindesign

Meadowview House-24-1 Kindesign

Meadowview House-25-1 Kindesign

Meadowview House-26-1 Kindesign

Meadowview House-27-1 Kindesign

Photos: Courtesy of Platform 5 Architects

  • Name Withheld

    I feel bad singling this house out, because it’s no worse than many other modern eco homes we see featured on this and other sites…but it’s UGLY. I’m sorry. No offense to the architects or the owners. But it’s ugly.

    1. The exterior of the “sweet chestnut” cladding is a depressing, weathered gray. It may be reclaimed wood. It may be sustainable. It may be innovative. It may be low-cost. But it’s hideous. It looks like it has been around for decades and hasn’t been maintained.

    2. The remaining white-walled exterior is bleak. Ok, so it’s a clean look. It’s neutral. But it’s bleak. Combined with the gray, the overall result is tremendously cold, industrial, and depressing.

    3. The geometry of the exterior is bland. It’s a shoebox with square windows, a flat roof, and no ornament of any kind. Maybe it’s low-cost. Maybe it’s modern. But it absolutely clashes with its surrounding environment of trees and fields. And it looks cheap and unoriginal. It looks like it built in a factory and dumped on site without much planning.

    The interior is better. They did some nice things with glass and woodwork on the inside. But even it has a lot of cold gray and white. I’m not saying it should be exploding with the colors of a Brazilian festival. I’m just saying that there are a lot of ways to use color that create subdued warmth, convey a gentle organic appearance, or achieve other effects.

    Eco-home design is a wonderful thing. But we should never compromise beauty for other factors. Beauty can sometimes determine the success or failure of the building, whether it’s worth saving or not. Architects carry an important responsibility. Their work sometimes lasts hundreds or thousands of years. We need to live up to that.