Butterfly plan

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Plan of Papillon Hall, Leicestershire

A Butterfly plan, also known as a Double Suntrap plan, is a type of architectural plan in which two or more wings of a house are constructed at an angle to the core, usually at approximately 45 degrees to the wall of the core building.[1] It was used primarily in late Victorian architecture and during the early Arts and Crafts movement.


Westwood House, Worcestershire, was a 17-century precursor.[2] After the original, rectangular house was begun c. 1612, four diagonal wings were added at some time later in the same century.[3]

Victorian interest in the plan originated in the 1891 remodelling of Chesters, Northumberland, by Norman Shaw.[2] To the original, square house of 1771 he added five wings; three of these were diagonal, creating suntrap flanks for the south and west fronts.[4]

The principle of the butterfly plan was also re-adapted within an overall rectangular overall form, as for instance in Kallio Library in Helsinki, Finland, by architect Karl Hård af Segerstad, completed in 1902.

Notable Arts and Crafts examples:



  1. ^ English Heritage Online thesaurus butterfly plan
  2. ^ a b Beckett, Matthew (24 October 2012). "The Butterfly House". New architecture blog. Country Life. Retrieved 24 October 2015. 
  3. ^ Brooks, Alan; Pevsner, Nikolaus (2007). The Buildings of England: Worcestershire. New Haven: Yale University Press. pp. 653–56. ISBN 978-0-300-11298-6. 
  4. ^ Historic England. "Chesters (1155585)". National Heritage List for England (NHLE). Retrieved 24 October 2015. 
  5. ^ Historic England. "The Barn (1164569)". National Heritage List for England (NHLE). Retrieved 25 October 2015. 
  6. ^ Drury, Michael (2000), Wandering Architects: In Pursuit of the Arts and Crafts Ideal, Shaun Tyas. ISBN 190028913X
  7. ^ Cantor, Leonard (1998), Historic Country Houses in Leicestershire and Rutland. Kairos Press. ISBN 1871344182
  8. ^ Historic England. "Thornfield residential home for the elderly (1049826)". National Heritage List for England (NHLE). Retrieved 25 October 2015. 
  9. ^ Historic England. "Kelling Hall (1151974)". National Heritage List for England (NHLE). Retrieved 25 October 2015. 
  10. ^ Historic England. "Yaffle House and attached screen wall (1275360)". National Heritage List for England (NHLE). Retrieved 25 October 2015.