A detached house in Worcestershire by Glazzard Architects maximises its spectacular hilltop site


Alan Miller

Redhill by Glazzard Architects is a four-bedroom detached house that replaces a dilapidated cottage on a hilltop site in Shelsley Beauchamp, Worcestershire. Maximising the panoramic views and utilising sustainable technologies were central to the brief. The two-storey scheme is organised around a large open-plan living space that juts out over the hill to the south west. A series of terraces with external dining/entertaining areas gradually step down to the west.

Entrance elevation with projecting first-floor bedroom

Two of the bedrooms occupy a rectangular box located at first-floor level, with the master suite cantilevering out over the main entrance. A large, covered terrace extends beyond the bedroom, into the trees which screen the morning sun. The south side of the first-floor wing opens onto a large terrace/rooftop seating area located above the living accommodation. The house features an expressed steel structure incorporating propped cantilevers. Frame bays are infilled with zinc-clad studwork panels and full-height glazing.


The highly glazed open-plan living space provides good levels of daylighting and panoramic views of the surrounding countryside

Special consideration was given to sustainability and self-sufficiency due to the site’s lack of mains drainage and unreliable power supply, writes Glazzard Architects. The existing cottage was demolished prior to construction and the materials reused as hardcore. All subsequent construction spoil remained on site during the build and was re-used for the landscaping.

Heating is provided by a ground-source heat pump, which is supplied by four 160-metre deep boreholes. This is distributed throughout the house via a wet underfloor heating system, running low-design temperatures to maximise the efficiency of the heat pump. Additional heating is provided by a large, centrally-positioned wood- burning stove. Hot water is supplied via a three-square-metre evacuated tube solar array on the upper roof. The hot water can be supplemented by the heat pump to meet demand if necessary.


Master bedroom with full-height sliding glass doors and terrace

Highly insulated glass set within thermally-broken aluminium frames was specified together with remotely operated concealed blinds to control unwanted solar gain. This ensures a comfortable and controllable internal environment.

Building insulation exceeds minimum requirements, partially to compensate for the area of glazing, but mainly to reduce the demand on the heating systems.

Mains electricity is supplied via overhead cable, which was noted as being unreliable in this location. In order to reduce grid dependancy, the upper roof incorporates 52-square- metres of photovoltaic panels generating 9kVA. The house is also fitted with LED lighting, which is controlled and monitored remotely to ensure maximum efficiency. Care was given to the subdivision of electrical circuits so that in the event of a power cut essential facilities can remain operational by the photovoltaics or via a separate back-up generator. All surface water is harvested on site and stored for use in irrigation and maintenance of the gardens.

Foul water is treated on site with a Bio-disc treatment plant with the final outflow discharging in a controlled manner into a small brook flowing past the entrance to the site.

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Building credits

Glazzard Architects
Structural engineer
Complete Design
Main contractor
Harper & Sons

VM Zinc
Photovoltaics, solar hot water
Wine cellar
Spiral Cellars