Hugging the landscape
Located in sacred agricultural land and bordering an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the design of this house emerged from responding to and mimicking nature’s forms and processes. The ruins of a demolished building are present on the site and the proposals aim to reinstate what was once the farmhouse on the land. The initial ideas engaged with simple and efficient forms that are inspired by the organic undulations of the surrounding landscapes. The new house is designed as a low-energy, comfortable, and functional family home, which is multi-generational, accessible, and flexible, and which can become a precedent of outstanding contemporary architecture in the area.
The architectural concept incorporates a strong nucleus located at the heart of the house, a transitional space aimed to enrich the connectivity between the occupants and the natural world, as well as acting as the thermal buffer that regulates the internal environmental conditions of the house.
The proposed organic geometries nestle gracefully in the undulating topography and maintain a presence within the immediate surroundings.
The project targets the Passivhaus Standard. Whilst the orientation of the main house prioritises the breathtaking views over the valley, several energy strategies are incorporated into the design, including efficient form factor, highly insulated external envelope, Passive House windows, efficient heat recovery ventilation, very low airtightness levels, no thermal bridges and a winter garden that acts as a thermal buffer.
Simple environmental strategies have been explored from early design stages, placing emphasis on passive solar design and the ‘Fabric First’ approach.
Energy optimisation - The main building envelope is to be highly efficient and thermally detached from non-heated areas such as the winter garden and the garage. Strategies such as an efficient form factor and thermal mass contribute to this purpose.
Thermal buffer - The winter garden acts as a thermal buffer between the outdoors and the main house: in winter, it is thermally separated from the main house but the large windows in between can be used to regulate the internal heat flow depending on the outdoor climate conditions.
Heat recovery - Efficient heat recovery ventilation is key, promoting good indoor air quality and saving energy. Mechanical ventilation with heat recovery is planned for the whole house.
Water management - Rainwater is to be managed through a sustainable drainage system, using natural resources such as water butts to store and reuse the water for irrigation, and green roofs and ponds to attenuate intensive water flow.
Enhanced biodiversity - The green roofs, the winter garden, the ponds, and new vegetation around the house are planned to enhance the biodiversity of the site.
Efficient systems - Efficient heating systems such as air or ground source heat pumps are being considered.
Sources for renewable energy production have been explored in the form of solar collectors, to be positioned on flat roofs or the ground near the house. The overall aim is to be completely off-grid.
Passive House - The Passive House Standard is the energy efficiency target for the house, as responds very closely to the environmental strategy for the project. Energy balance calculations are performed in parallel to inform the design throughout the evolution of the project.
Natural materials - Hempcrete is proposed for the external walls, reducing the overall embodied carbon of the building.