Video: The house with a sliding roof

A SHAPE shifting Suffolk home has become a worldwide internet sensation.

Tom Potter

A SHAPE shifting Suffolk home has become a worldwide internet sensation.

A Youtube video showing the clever sleeve design in action has already received more than half-a-million visits by enthralled viewers from across the globe.

In just six minutes, the house, belonging to Ross and Sally Russell, can change shape at the push of a button, using four electric motors powered by standard 12 volt car batteries.

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If it's a bright summer's day the Russell's can simply slide the 20 tonne steel and wooden canopy back to cover the annexe, leaving the bathroom open and revealing a glass covered living space.

The couple were living in London until they decided to move to rural Suffolk three years ago and realise an architectural dream. Mrs Russell said: “It took nearly a year for us to find a site because plots on which you can build are fairly few and far between.

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“For the first 15 months not a lot happened while we tried to get the whole thing approved.

“We started with a blank sheet of paper and came up with all the elements that would make up our dream house.”

The �340,000 project was finished in January and designed to look like a Monopoly hotel. Mr Russell said: “We wanted to see the wonderful view of the Suffolk country side so we took it to the extreme.

“It's a house that is open to the elements depending on the season and it's not overlooked, so our neighbours can't see us reading the paper.”

Mr Russell's old school friend and dRMM architects partner Alex de Rijke designed the house. He said:

“I've never designed a sliding house before so it was difficult to work out the role of the sliding and fixed parts of the building.

“The design means that as one door closes, another door opens, which is true of many aspects of the design process.”

The sliding house:

- The building is 52ft long, 20ft wide and 23ft high.

- It is built on steel and concrete foundations.

- The main structure is made from timber while the conservatory is constructed from aluminium and double glazed glass. A weather proof PVC membrane covers a steel timber clad movable frame.

- Only one of the windows and doors opens outwards and the door openings are spaced so there is always an exit, at any point along the travel path, in case the mechanism jams.

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