RIBA Award winning Zinc and timber design on Stilts

One man’s desire to live close to the river sparked the imagination of architect John Pardey, who created a unique space on the banks of the River Loddon near Wargrave. 'Hind House', built for Steve and Dee Hind, is a 242m2 flat roof dwelling on flood plain. The design, therefore, involved construction on raised columns to allow the river, which floods up to a depth of just over one metre, to pass beneath it.

The house is steel framed building has zinc and timber cladding, VMZINC’s standing seam cladding system in Anthra-Zinc® having been used.

Use of natural materials was favoured and pre-weathered zinc offered the combined benefits of long-term colour retention which requires little or no maintenance. Completed in December 2008, the project has recently won the RIBA Southern Region Award for design, the judges having commended 'its response to a difficult site subjected to seasonal flooding resulting in its unique design elevating the building on stilts'.

Though natural zinc develops a natural patina as it ages, the design requirement was to retain the building’s contemporary appearance. Architect Henry Goss commented, “For the Hind House project we were again looking to specify a palette of natural building materials. We have used zinc cladding before and so were familiar with its intrinsic benefits. Having assessed the performance and appearance of other metals, we find that those such as aluminium are not as robust, relying as they do on anodised or powder coated finishes. Unlike other projects, traditional ageing and weathering in the vernacular style was not the aim, as we wanted to retain a modern, showpiece appearance. We liked the colour range and texture of VM Zinc’s pre-weathered cladding and as we wanted to retain the colour contrast between timber and metal, opted for a combination of the dark Anthra-Zinc with a light natural timber. The end result is restrained but distinctive. Zinc offers very clear benefits in terms of long-term performance, and we could not have achieved what we did using any other metal”.

Featured also in Grand Designs magazine, Hind House is now receiving a similar level of attention to the Grand Designs award winner that inspired it. Whether it will prompt similar projects remains to be seen, but the use of zinc as a sustainable building material for both cladding and roofing will.

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