Famous Penarth House Reborn

  Posted: 29.07.19 at 14:34 by The Editor

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The mystery of the demolition plan for one of Penarth’s most recognisable buildings can now be unravelled.

Earlier this month the rumours were buzzing on Facebook and elsewhere about developments where a famous old house seemed to be in the process of demolition.

Enquiries by Penarth Nub News have established that in fact the house has indeed been demolished but with the intention of rebuilding it to the specification of the architect’s original designs dating from the 1900's

The Vale of Glamorgan gave planning approval for this back in May, 2019. Nub News has now spoken to the architect, Downs Merrifield Architects, who will be responsible for the recreation of the building which is known as Winton, on Forrest Road.

Nic Downs, a partner of Downs Merrifield, told Nub News that they are working for a local family who will rebuild the house to use as their own home.

The new owners of the house fell in love with the coastal setting which overlooks the Bristol Channel towards Flat Holme and Steep Holme with the backdrop of the Mendip and Quantock Hills in the distance.

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Mr. Downs said: ‘’Our clients loved the original design of the house, the way it opened up and the stunning views’’

‘’They also liked the curved entrance screen, the semi-circular bay windows and the corner windows so typical of this period of architecture as well as the clean, modern lines of the interiors.

‘'The original house was designed in 1934 by the London architect R A C Churchward for The Coalelectric Estate Development Co. Ltd.

‘’It was then extended around the 1980’s and a large single storey added to the side comprising a kitchen and dining room.

‘’On the basis that the 1980’s addition didn’t reflect the scale and proportions of the original house the initial decision was made to retain the 1934 house, demolish the extension and design a new wing more in keeping with the original house.’’

During further analysis of the building it became clear that where a number of previously unseen issues with the physical state of the house.

Nic Downs explained: ‘’The structure was showing signs of fatigue, hardly surprising for a building of this age. As well as this the majority of the doors and windows had been replaced with UPVC versions which were totally inappropriate and the thermal insulation levels were inadequate when compared with modern standards.

‘’As a result of these investigations it was then determined that it was not viable to retain the existing house and so it was decided that the best course of action would be to demolish the entire building and rebuild the house to the original design, with the more sympathetic extension using modern construction techniques to better withstand the severe levels of exposure that this site will have of endure.’’

So, what new ideas emerged in the new design of the building?

‘’There are subtle differences to the design’’ says Mr. Downs ‘’for example the second floor which was a small staircase and tiny glazed room, often referred to as a solarium in 1930’s houses has been enlarged to enable the master bedroom to be located at roof level utilising the curved language employed elsewhere in the design.

‘’The two existing chimneys have been removed as there is no longer a need for them in what will be a very low energy house employing modern design standards.

‘’This includes high levels of thermal insulation, large south facing fenestration to benefit from solar heat gain and whole house heat recovery and ventilation systems.

‘’Finally, the wing to the side of the house is lower and subservient to the original with projecting overhangs carried on a standalone section of wall in deference to the 1934 design.

How long will all of this take?

‘’The original house has now been demolished with the new construction expected to commence in August with completion anticipated in the summer of 2020,’’ said Mr. Downs.

‘’It is hoped that the design for the new family home has respected the rich history and unique design of the original house and will provide a fitting home and landmark piece of architecture on this prominent site in Penarth for many years to come.’’

Images: Courtesy of Downs Merrifield Architects

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