Mannez House 


Alderney C.I.


Main Contractor:


Our client’s have owned the site for many years. The rugged, exposed site has an existing property that was constructed in 1934 from a single skin of un-insulated concrete blocks. Damp and movement has damaged the dwelling beyond reasonable repair over the years. A survey has shown the cost of redeveloping the existing building to meet contemporary standards of construction, insulation and energy efficiency, is more expensive than demolishing the existing building and building new.

In designing a replacement family home, we have worked with our client to focus on some key concepts:

Designing for the extended family

We have designed the dwelling for our client’s extended family, at present and into the future.

We have therefore positioned 2 of the 5 bedrooms on the ground floor. Level access thresholds, a wheelchair accessible ground floor WC and wide hallways are all a direct result of planning for our client’s future. Flexibility in the layout also allows the house open out to the surrounding landscape in a multitude of ways to mitigate the changeable weather patterns and maximise solar gain throughout the year.

Sympathetic to the Landscape

We have lowered the height of the proposed building by 2.5m compared to the existing dwelling to set it more sympathetically into the surrounding landscape. The site and the context area of high landscape quality, and lowering the height of the proposed dwelling and setting it slightly West of the existing dwelling enhances the overall landscape of the area. The top of the roofline of the new dwelling approximately matches the guttering of the existing building.

This has the effect of making the dwelling less visible to all the neighbouring properties, without exception. This approach is reinforced with the use of natural finishes including stone, wood and a ‘living’ sedum roof. We feel this is more sympathetic to the landscape quality and a significant improvement to the dilapidated dwelling currently on site.

The replacement dwelling is sited in a similar location to the existing, with the first-floor element sited further North West of the existing dwelling, further reducing the visual impact from the public road to the south. The new house maximises views of surrounding landmarks with views towards the large WWII German observation tower, known as ‘The Odeon’ directly west of the site. The configuration also provides fantastic views to the Quesnard Lighthouse to the North, to Fort Houmet Herbé on the Eastern Coast and on clear days distant views of the French coast and the Cherbourg Peninsula.

The new, pre-fabricated dwelling will be energy efficient with high levels of insulation to provide minimum heat loss above and beyond local building regulation standards.

Good levels of daylight will be provided to habitable rooms on all levels and efficient ventilation provided by a controllable fully integrated mechanical system with heat recovery. The highly-insulated house will be supported by an efficient under floor heating system and good orientation will maximise the use of passive solar gain in winter months and shading at ground and first floor levels will minimise overheating during summer months.

The proposed first floor level sedum roofs also added to the thermal mass of the building and assist with providing a more sustainable and attenuated drainage system to the dwelling and wider site context.