Designing outside the box

  • An elegant family home in Wiltshire, England
  • Two nested crescents create shelter and sanctuary 
  • Shortlisted for the 2000 Stirling Prize

By abandoning the conventional box-like form of domestic buildings, the architect has created a unique home, which, while striking in appearance, also provides bright, practical living spaces well shielded from passers-by.

Cathy Strongman
Author, 100 Houses: Modern Designs for Contemporary Living

Project Details

Location Wiltshire, UK
Status Built (2004)
Sectors Residential
Area 280m2/3,000ft2
Client Confidential

Our creative clients didn’t want to live in a box. They wanted a house that sheltered and protected their family but allowed them to connect to their surroundings as well.

So we designed Crescent House. It’s formed of two nested crescents connected by a curving gallery space that runs between them. The outer crescent contains bedrooms, bathrooms and living areas, and presents a solid wall to the adjacent road. The inner one, meanwhile, is devoted to shared family activities, and remains bright and airy all day, with a full-height concave glass wall that draws in the early morning sun and provides views across the Downs all the way to the White Horse in the distance.

The result is a house that’s both private and open – a house that connects and responds to its environment, allowing the people living there to feel connected too.