The brief was to provide a contemporary, Code Level 4 replacement dwelling of first class architectural quality on an exceedingly sensitive rural site on the North Gower coast.
Occupying an elevated position on Llanmadoc Hill, the site is exposed on the northern, eastern and southern sides; whilst backed against and cut into rising land to the west. From within the site this position provides dramatic 270° panoramic views over the estuary towards Llanelli and across the Gower countryside. Accordingly, by virtue of its location, the property is also highly visible from great distances. The site adjoins National Trust land to the North and lies within a designated ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’. Above the house, some distance away, there exists the remains of a Bronze age Celtic hill fort.
The core scheme for the new Stormy Castle has been conceived as three lines in the landscape, following the contours of the land, with much of the proposed dwelling cut and sunk into the sloping site within a concrete earth shelter. Each level is then covered with turf roofs, reducing massing, visibility and impact on the surrounding environment. This fragmented layout evolved as much for pragmatic reasons: working with the topography, climatic considerations, planning the accommodation according to orientation; as to take advantage of the desired views, need for privacy, and internal organisation and circulation.