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Hillside Cottage 

St Agnes, United Kingdom


Client: Private

Situated on the North Coast of Cornwall and within the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the site is located on the side of a steep
hill overlooking Trevaunance Cove, St Agnes. The proposal combines and extends a pair of traditional miners cottages
originally built around 1860 to create a single five-bedroom house staggered over four floors.

The scheme is composed of two main masses: the pair of original stone cottages and a new larch-clad building to the rear of
the existing property. The original building, once a pair of small cottages, have been combined to house the accommodation
with the new extension providing continuous living spaces and sea views. A discrete, underground link navigates the site’s
complex topography to link the two masses whilst providing select glimpses of the surrounding landscape. The space between
consists of a large double height entrance hall; completely dug into the ground the space is top lit and acts as a generous
circulation as well as additional living space.

Constructed with a series of beam & block slabs connected back to hillside, the two masses are bisected by a dry stone wall
which runs from outside to inside; conceived as a traditional garden wall externally, internally the wall forms a dramatic
backdrop to the double height entrance space and a single continuous straight stair which ascends to the top floor.
At the highest level, a steel-frame pitched-roof structure mimics the traditional typology of Cornish cottages; a contemporary
silhouette of the miners’ cottage. Deliberately subservient to the main cottage, the new mass is clad in vertical jointed larch,
which takes cues from the historic ancillary buildings and workshops of the surrounding local tin mines. The larch has been left
to weather naturally and has been left to soften into the tree-lined backdrop of Hillside.

The surrounding landscape has been regraded and fully replanted with locally native plants to ensure the building sits
seamlessly in the side of the hill. Over time this planting will be allowed to grow slowly concealing the buildings and the
connecting stone wall. Internally, the material palette is simple and robust; stone, slate, steel and oak provide natural and beautiful textures which reflect the rugged climate. Three double bedrooms are provided at ground floor, with the master bedroom, ensuite, and dressing room taking up the first floor of the cottage. A small gymnasium and cinema room are concealed within the hillside, all accessed off the single stair traversing all floors. A platform lift provides level access to all areas of the house.

The project was designed in collaboration with RA Studio and was completed in late 2021.


Existing Photos 

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