When Ross Russel and his wife Sally approached their architectural whiz kid friend Alex de Reijke of dRMM architects, they made it clear that their self-build aspirations for a home on the broads of North Suffolk were bound to be a little audacious. In the words of the couple, they 'were prepared to be radical'.
A year on, Russel and de Reijke’s ambitious vision has come to fruition, and the home, modestly named ‘Sliding House’, stands, toy-like, beneath the broad East-Anglian sky. The narrow oblong structure, built with typical Suffolk house in mind, is sheathed in sleek timbered casing - designed to slide back and forth, concealing or revealing the glassy framework that lies beneath at the touch of a button.
The idea is, at heart, incredibly simple – taking only six minutes to fully unsheathe, come rain, shine or tropical storm the family are free to choose between the cooling giant greenhouse in the summer months, and come winter, they are able to slide the roof back over to protect the less insulating glass interior.
Seasonal, adaptive and responsive are undoubtedly architectural buzzwords de la mode, so, whilst Russel and de Reijke’s build may be beautiful, the brains that lie beneath are free – nay, encouraged - to make themselves known.