London-based architectural firm ACME has created a unique home inspired by traditional oast houses used for drying hops as part of the beer brewing process. Surrounded by expansive orchards, the Bumpers Oast House features four rising conical, timber towers, all clad in locally sourced, handcrafted brick tiles.
The homeowners of the Bumpers Oast House came close to buying and restoring an old structure when they first came to Kent years ago. Deciding against the idea at the time, they eventually turned to ACME years later to design a new home that would feature a fun, modern twist on the classic architectural style of the area.
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Placed in a natural setting of orchard trees and lush greenery, the home’s four modules rise out of the ground and become conical at the top. Traditionally, oast houses had open cowls at the very top to let the hot air escape. In the Bumpers Oast House, this idea translated into operational skylights that bring natural light deep into the residence. ACME chose timber as the main building material for its flexibility, resilience and insulating properties.
The conical tops of the towers were all manufactured offsite and installed on top of the main bases via crane. For the brick tile cladding, the architects went local, turning to artisans to craft and install the 41,000 tiles that cover the exterior. The exterior features dark red brick tiles at the base that slowly change to a light orange color at the very top of the towers, creating an eye-catching gradient.
Inside, the four modules come together to form a very bright and modern dwelling. Clad in plywood, the interior features cylindrical rooms with custom-made, curved furniture. Plentiful windows, plus those gorgeous skylights, brighten the communal areas, including the kitchen, dining and living spaces.
Accessible by a helical timber staircase, the second level houses the bedrooms as well as several auxiliary spaces that can be used as offices, playrooms, or guest rooms. Each bedroom features its own private staircase that leads up to the top of its corresponding conical tower, opening up to fun, treehouse-like spaces that overlook the green landscape.
Photography by Jim Stephenson via ACME