Architecture Lab

A House inside an Underground Reservoir

Does it float your boat? Property pioneers build a home inside a former underground RESERVOIR
A House inside an Underground Reservoir

The roof of the property is covered in turf, meaning it blends seamlessly into the hillock. // photo by Apex

A couple have told how they spent three years creating one of Britain’s most unusual properties – by converting a former underground reservoir.
Civil engineer Robert Hardy and his wife Ann began the mammoth project after falling in love with a 6,500 sq ft site at the centre of a hillock in Sidmouth, Devon.
The decommissioned reservoir resembled a concrete drum, and had been lying unused for five years when they bought it from South West Water in 2008.

A House inside an Underground Reservoir

After three years of work, Robert Hardy and his wife Ann have transformed the former underground reservoir into a modernist bolt-hole cut into the side of a hill // photo by Apex

The water company was selling planning permission for the space to be converted into a five-bedroom house – at a guide price of £300,000.
While many scoffed at the idea, Mr Hardy, 49, said the scale and difficulty of the project was exactly what attracted him.
‘I have spent years putting housing developments into fields, and it is utterly boring,’ he said.
‘This project had so many interesting aspects to it.
‘How do you deal with the height problems?
‘What about the light? How do you go about uncovering the drum? It was fascinating.’

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