Matthew Heywood began his career at Future Systems, and it's that studio's unrelenting commitment to modernity that has seeped through into his very first residential project, the Trish House, located in the small Kent village of Yalding.
Heywood has devoted a considerable amount of time and energy into developing this project himself, looking closely at how a local vernacular form dating back many centuries could be updated for the modern era without tipping into pastiche.
Suffice to say, we liked the result so much that we've featured the exterior in our December issue (W*177), with the brand new Rolls-Royce monochromatically matched in the driveway.
There's no chance that the angular façade, slashed windows and stark colour schemes of the Trish House could ever be mistaken for a traditional Kentish 'black and white house' (named for the juxtaposition of black beams and white render), even though the façade is clad in black and white weatherboarded panels. These are interspersed with irregularly shaped floor-to-ceiling windows, with lines that cut through ground and upper storeys to mimic the angle and rake of the trees that surround the site.
The house was built by specialist contract Ecolibrium solutions and engineered by Fothergill & Company. Together with his collaborators, Heywood has wrung a new approach out of the classic modernist box, twisting form to reflect context without compromising space or quality. Inside, the rich quality of natural light is accentuated by simple fittings, plain wooden floors and an open stair with glass balustrades rising out of the expansive open plan reception room. Five bedrooms and a study are located upstairs, all benefiting from the huge bespoke windows.
Heywood has had to fight for a contemporary solution in a part of the country with a very traditional mindset but, once permission was secured, the year-long build proceeded without incident. 'My motivation behind the design was to demonstrate that not only was it possible to build a very modern house in a sensitive and beautiful location but that it was also possible for the design to remain contextual and be attractive to potential purchasers,' he explains. And the Trish House surely delivers.