red kite

the brief. 

To design a new garden for a property in the heart of the Chilterns, in Buckinghamshire. 

The requests were to increase the space for entertaining, to have water in the garden either in the form of a pond or water feature. Attracting  wildlife was important, along with increasing the viable space at the top of the existing bank. The back garden had two neighbouring property on each side and a solution to increase privacy would have to be found. The ground, steeply climbing away from the back door, did not give much chance of borrowing the delightful surroundings... 

I believe the main challenge was the space. A garden this size, although being in such a stunning location, does not offer solutions other than creating steps or terraces, or retaining walls... and it is easy to end up with the equivalent of a 5m (16ft) wall in front of you whilst opening the back door... ! 

The visit. 

It was a moment of great excitement to see a wonderful red kite (Milvus milvus) looking down on us and learn about its successful reintroduction in the UK. 

"Seeing the flight of a bird makes me dream... I felt like closing my eyes and the breeze on my face just started my thoughts... ".

Back at my desk, the pencil started drawing some patterns, waving on the once blank sheet of paper... Maybe there was a way of borrowing the surrounding landscape... The next meeting made things clearer. The question: why have you drawn those patterns and where were they coming from? I did not know...  not yet. A massive aquarium came to the fore in my 3D model, but maybe that was exactly suitable on the Chilterns! 

During my research I came across a beautiful painting from local artist John Ashton which gave the inspiration for this design. The much needed retaining walls could have mimicked the profile of the hills...

Researching on local materials, informed me that flints were much in use but I had in mind something different. I wanted to explore the way of using traditional materials in combination with ultra-modern technology... By chance, I had discovered an interesting material some time before and I was determined to use it!  What if my translucent concrete was used on the walls as coping? That would have allowed to show their profiles after dusk perhaps in a subtle way....