Merrydown is a family home with a natural and simple beauty, located in Dorset, United Kingdom, designed by McLaren Excell.
This former Victorian girl's school, of cob construction, had been converted in the 1950s as a single story home. Dropping the floor level and removing the false ceilings allowed the architects to create a family home with a dramatic double height space and additional rooms at first floor level. The principal living space is almost church-like in scale and arrangement, so befitting a pure and restrained selection of materials. Birch plywood, concrete, wood wool and brass are used throughout, and recycled wood / concrete blocks create a structural spine wall which forms the stairwell to the bedrooms above and provides a backdrop to the more intimate living area. The materials used are honest, hard wearing and low in cost. They have all been left in their natural state — 'as found' — and, together with the pleasing rhythms of the original building, combine to make a scheme of conceptual simplicity and spatial purity.