Berways House

Finished in white-painted render, FDA’s bold, crisp rear extension breathes light and air into the original cottage house in the Hertfordshire countryside to update it as a modern family home, that overtly lends itself to entertaining and social living that the original, cellular dwelling could never offer.

Careful consideration and rationalisation of the historic form and details of the original cottage balance the markedly modern addition and provide rich character and tradition to the new building with both aspects sitting harmoniously together.

Incorporating new, open-plan kitchen, dining and living areas for a family of 4, and their dog too, the extension is set discreetly to the rear of the cottage, which offers little clue of its presence from the village street at the front.

The angled forms elegantly frame the expansive glazing which maximises the extension’s openness to the exterior, allowing it to remain finely proportioned and open into the deep, wooded garden to the rear and across into a covered dining area to the side.

This seamless connection out to the garden spaces is further aided with the inclusion of details such as a polished concrete floor that continues outside from the living area. This makes the house highly permeable and fluid in summer months, yet it remains bright and connected in the winter months as well.


Design by FDArchitecture; We were asked by a long-standing client to design her new residence on Big Island, Hawaii. The Client, an author, designer and campaigner has specified the building must be a low-impact and substantially self-sustaining, generating its own power while the site shall be subsistence farmed.

The house design is based on a broadly archetypal Hawaiian design being a single-storey timber structure with metal roof. However, it also references some of the details and aesthetic from the beach house of the Client’s former ‘Hamptons’ home where FDA had worked with her previously.

For comfort and maintenance, the house is elevated on the site to maximise air flow below and through the building but to also enhance the available views to both ocean and mountains north and south of the site especially.

The long form of the building also borrows from other American building traditions, specifically the Louisiana ‘dog-trot’ design which sets the long side of the building in opposition to the prevailing winds. With the central section left open in, air is passively funnelled through this space and then gently ventilates each opposing end of the home. This neutral and open-sided, central living area then allows for privacy between master and guest bedroom spaces.

The building orientation also maximises the harvest of solar energy while a top-up of electrical power shall come from a small domestic wind turbine when the sun has set.

The house is set within a large wrap-around deck, locally known as a ‘Lanai’ after a neighbouring island. This provides generous outdoor living areas that the, mostly, benign climate affords. Wide roofs over sailing to protect the house from the often-harsh tropical sun and wind-driven rain.

The landscaping strategy is two-fold with close planting specifically provide additional protection to the building, in time this will provide some dissipation cover to the structure from storm winds.

The remainder of the property is largely cultivated with fruit trees and high-yield crops, grazing land and a little left over for the client’s dogs just to run wildly about on.





Concept Design by FDArchitecture; For a new rural home on a sensitive site subject to Paragraph 55 of the National Planning Policy Framework, a great deal was demanded of this design. FDA’s response was to propose a building whose form, scale and material echoed, without directly replicating, the character and tradition of its setting. Instead the proposal sought to be representative of the here and now without losing sight of that tradition and detail.

Tucking into a rolling landscape of Cow Parsley covered hills and using the ground as its dressing, the house is carefully designed to be as inobtrusive as possible within the wider landscape, often virtually disappearing from sight. But where seen from other angles, it rises out of the hillside, inferring the familiar forms of traditional agricultural buildings.
Traditional architectural language has been reinterpreted, with the house comprised of two dipping and interlinking forms which challenge the understanding of what the roof and the landscape might be, allowing it to simultaneously vanish and yet be bold and modern.


Set into a steep hill with views across a Cornish bay, this extension and remodelling of an existing bungalow sought to introduce coherence to the original house and encompass the site as a whole.

Inter-connecting spaces were added helping form new relationships with the landscape. A completely new building to the rear of the site was also introduced and offered the client the amenity of a home office and indeed additional accommodation for guests keen to take advantage of the new swimming pool which separates the two buildings.

Accommodation in the main house is flipped from the traditional arrangement with bedrooms located on at the ground floor while the living spaces enjoy the best views over the bay and also across to the pool at the rear from the upper floor.

To achieve variety and interest befitting of the dramatic location lighting was, of course, critical particularly where the building cuts into the hillside so all opportunities to introduce daylight were taken. A double-glazed wall which allows light to reach the deepest section at the rear of the main building was central to this strategy.

The client desired the project to have the least possible environmental impact, as a result both buildings are highly insulated including green roofs at the extension and new structure, heating is provided by an air-source heat pump and rainwater is harvested from the new roofs.



The clients ambition and brief demanded dramatic intervention to a conventional terrace house where all but the front elevation and roof remained of the original building when the works were complete.

New levels were added and the rear excavated to provide new living space 3m high and 18m long, more voluminous than the ground floor level.

The client is a serious wine collector and the collection is housed in a bespoke store set beneath the back garden, while other contemporary additions to the family home format have been added with new and extensive entertaining spaces, home offices and additional living quarters.

Over the new basement space the kitchen extends laterally and to the rear, with skylights on both edges allowing light to pass into the rooms below.

Bespoke joinery and stonework throughout signify the clients ambition to show off a refined taste for precision, beauty and pragmatism.


The existing site was occupied by a small, dark post-war bungalow on a double-width plot which the client wished to demolish the existing building with the view to building a pair of new, contemporary home suitable for the full plot the and modern concept of what a house should be.

While there was good scope in building width the scale of the neighbouring properties is imposing and each has tall, mature trees which overshadow much of the site so the building’s orientation is primarily front to back but off-set to one side to allow client a small swimming pool on the sunniest location within the plot.
By adapting a traditional butterfly roof design and then seperating each pitch to allow the insertion of an atrium the house could easily overcome limited light a traditional roof form would have allowed. The resulting design is a simple, fluid and airy contempory home.


The client wished to retain much of the existing house, particularly the private spaces at first floor level, but also to radically alter the more public living spaces at the ground floor and wanted not to comprimise his view and enjoyment of the large garden from within the house.

To achieve this the entrire ground floor was removed and the upper half of the house was left insitu while the new house was built beneath.
A skylight runs the whole length of the rear of the ground floor allowing light to penetrate deeper into the plan, so creating an even more spacious feel. This is made possible by allowing the rear frame of the building to be seperate from the rest of the buildingso that it could move indepentatly of the glazing which simply rests over it.


By reunifying 4 individual town-house apartments for a modern family home the opportunity was taken to maximise the existing building volume where new additions were limited by previous development.

Where the depth of the the floor plan had previously restricted natural light from pentrating the interior spaces this was overcome by combining them latererally and vertically to extend internal and external views and the rear was opened up with the bold use of glass. New skylights and internal windows dropped in and borrow light down and through the building while the existing staircase was adapted and a provide fluid and surprising circulation through the spaces. Materials, paticularly those in the basement, were chosen for their seamlessness and lightness, perfectly echoing the ambition of the architecture.