The Hide revisited

Blooms, accolades, and due kudos to our specialist fabricators.

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Alongside HollandGreen Architecture, we celebrate The Hide’s shortlisting for the British Homes Awards 2022 House of the Year.

A truly collaborative project, The Hide was creatively reimagined and expertly designed by HollandGreen Architecture. As principal contractor Barr Group Ltd. worked alongside HollandGreen, together with a select handful of industry specialists, to bring their vision to life. With the stunning garden plans by James Scott of The Garden Company coming to fruition, and The Hide in glorious full bloom, we couldn’t resist popping back to take some midsummer pictures of this Chiltern idle.

The Hide started life as a rundown brick bungalow. Built into the hillside, the original property was un-rescuable due to its compromised structural integrity – starting from scratch was the only viable option. HollandGreen’s reimagining of the property is nothing short of breathtaking. Carefully considered dimensions, sympathetic and innovative use of materials, and intelligent structural form and fenestration come together to create something greater than the sum of its parts.

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Apertures frame spectacular views across the valley, and multilevel access points create a strong connection with the outside space. An upside down configuration (with the living space on the upper floor accessed via a bridge from the lane) allows the space, light, and views to be utilised to maximum effect. Floor-to-ceiling Crittall-style glazing and contemporary industrial-style elements, including an exposed glulam roof structure and glowing Corten steel accents, give the property a strikingly unique aesthetic.

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Given the property’s location within the Berkhamsted green belt, and its proximity to a Grade II*-listed barn, all aspects of the build had to be carefully and sensitively designed. A range of quality reclaimed materials were carefully selected to echo the character of the local vernacular and neighbouring barn, including exposed Chiltern red brick walls and traditional black timber cladding. Shortly after completion, the project went on to win the 2022 Berkhamsted Citizens Environment Award for design excellence and contribution to the local community. The judges complimented the building as a great example of contemporary architecture existing in harmony with a historic building, complementing yet not detracting from it.

As well as thanking our own Barr Group team for their hard work and dedication to this project, we would like to give a heartfelt shout-out to our extended family of specialist fabricators and subcontractors – without whom we could not make the magic happen! Working closely with the project management team and where needed dovetailing with each other, steel and timber, glazing and cladding, and brick and tile came together to make something special.

Constructional Timber carried out the design, manufacture, supply and install of the oak glulam and tie bar feature trusses. Carefully coordinated activity between Constructional Timber and W.I.G. Steel, suppliers of The Hide’s impressive steel portal frame, ensured compatibility between the key structural element of the build. “As well as telephone and email conversations, we did this through the sharing of 3D models to ensure coordination between our two trades,” says Paul Tracey, Constructional Timber Project Manager. "As a result of good working relationships with Barr Group and the wider project team, the design and installation process was very smooth. I had the pleasure of meeting the clients who came up to our factory in South Yorkshire, so I could talk them through all the timber and tie bar options available, including timber species [they chose European oak and proposed finishes for the tie bars]."

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The final crowning glory for The Hide was the installation of meticulously designed and manufactured Corten steel feature panels, for which we turned to long-term Barr Group collaborators and cladding experts PJB Cladding. “It was like creating and reassembling a big jigsaw," says Oliver Bromley, PJB Cladding Director. “There were 30 different Corten steel elements in total and every panel had to be individually templated. It was certainly a tricky project – but definitely worth it for the finished aesthetic.”

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Over the years the Barr Group directors have been uncompromising in their ambition to deliver exceptional design-led builds. We were able to fulfil this ambition with the help of wonderful like-minded clients (Rod and Fiona made this project an absolute joy for all involved), bold design collaborators (HollandGreen’s vision was truly exceptional), skilled fabricators and specialist subcontractors (mentioned above), and our excellent team on the ground. We are exceptionally proud of The Hide and would like to thank everyone involved, from first-phase planning to finished landscaping.

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