A TOAST TO THE OAST
Design Detail|July 2020
Oast houses with it’s symbolically signature of a conical roof atop a square or rounded base rose into prominence by the 18th century.
Ar. Farhaan Mohammed

These structures were an adaptation of barns and was intended to serve the purpose of drying hops needed for the beer-brewing industry. The hops were laid out and dried by the hot air rising from a wood or charcoal fire below. This hot air was then channelized outwards through a cowl on the conical apex. With the advent of technology and industrialization of the brewing process, the oasts of yesteryears soon turned obsolete, existing as mere memorials of a bygone era. Subsequently, most of these redundant structures were redesigned to cater to functions such as homes, retreats, museums and so on. However, to design a new home based on the vernacular oast houses would be something truly unique, and that is exactly what the Newton family from Kent aspired for when they approached ACME.

Set amidst the rolling landscape and apple orchards of Kent, Bumpers Oast represents a 21st-century riff on a local vernacular style prefixed upon such a structure. The family enjoyed the intimacy and idiosyncrasies of living in circular spaces and were thus impressed by the proposal put forward by the design team of ACME. Four shingle-clad towers that soar up from the subtle surroundings, a low energy home with a bold and contemporary aesthetic.“Bumpers Oast has allowed the practice to return to its roots, exploring new residential typologies as we did with Hunsett Mill. The form of this building is radically different to its predecessor and was only made possible thanks to a visionary client and an exhaustive research project into the local vernacular. This house can be both contemporary and proud of its Kent identity.”, says Friedrich Ludewig, director at ACME.

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