The Glass House, Aldeburgh, Suffolk

This new contemporary extensively glass house has been awarded the East Suffolk Quality of Place award 2021.

The design replaces a buff brick 1970’s small bungalow that was derelict and in a poor state of repair. The site slopes from North to South with a steep drop half way across the site. This afforded an opportunity to split the house levels and make use of this lower space for a 1 bedroom dependant family members annexe with the main dwelling above. This ensures the annexe occupier has a level of privacy and independence from the house occupiers effectively occupying a 1 bedroom apartment with private garden terrace and kitchen/ living space with lots of light from the fully glazed rear elevation. The house sits over this with full front and rear views and a fully glazed rear elevation. The front has a draught lobby and smaller openings to ensure privacy and reduced road noise. The entrance is designed to be clear and obvious to the visitor and give a glimpsed view through the house.

The house is substantial in its requirements but by utilising the slope and flat roof it effectively hides its mass below this pavilion structure. The roof over sails front and rear and partially to side to create this pavilion dwelling. The deep plan features large rooflights to ensure sunlight and daylight to the house core is provided. A concrete stair and structural wall links ground and lower ground with a full height light well. All ceilings are set high to ensure a feeling of space and to be proportionate to the plan size of the spaces.

Externally insulated render is used to create a floating rendered box over the Aldeburgh red brick plinth ensuring the house sits comfortably within context in terms of materials, form and colour. From the road appearing as a single storey modest contemporary dwelling.

The rear of the house is fully glazed but with a large over-sailing roof to control solar gain on this South West elevation allowing penetration of direct sunlight and thus heat gain in winter but providing shading in summer. This also provides external covered seating spaces and with sliding doors extends the living space in summer.  The glazed rear provides panoramic rural views over the countryside valley as well as a strong connection to the landscaped gardens (Chris Deakin garden design).

Glazed elements and recesses are used to cut into the simple rectangular plan form to form entrances and porches as well as lighting double height spaces. Despite the house being semi basement all habitable spaces have height and extensive external glazing/ daylighting. This creates interesting spaces internally and externally to the property. The side walls extend to the rear to ensure privacy for house occupiers and neighbours and to exaggerate this blurring of house into the landscape.


The property minimises its environmental impact in the following ways:

– Recycled concrete blocks to walls (carbonbuster blocks).

– Insulation of walls, floor and roof to beyond the current building regulations and to passive standards for walls.

– Water saving technologies to WC’s and taps.

– Rainwater recycling

– New triple glazed high performance windows

– New lighting throughout 100% LED

– Photovoltaics with future provision for battery storage.

– An air source heat pump to amplify the gains from the PV to heat hot water and space heating

– The installation of a full mechanical ventilation heat recovery system

– Rainwater harvesting

– The installation of a hot water thermal-store.

– A highly insulated roof

– Passive solar controlled gain

– High levels of thermal mass

This proposal provides an eco house design for multi generational living with extensive energy saving/ generation on site contained within a light and bright house with interconnection to gardens and terrace and maximum views. The large house minimises its mass by careful integration into site topography and through the use of deep plan but set below a single over-sailing roof plane.



Aldeburgh, Suffolk