To take climate change seriously, housing is a central issue, both environmentally and socially. Low carbon buildings can either respond to the challenge through optimising what the climate has to offer, or try to ignore it, insulate yourself to avoid its extremes.
I have long been interested in passive solar buildings, the idea of their responding to their environment seems right. When the opportunity of building in a live / work development on a delightful industrial estate arose, I leapt at the chance, not least because the expectation of architectural conformity on an industrial estate is less oppressive. The development already had eco aspirations before I joined it.
My building form is a simple structure with a 7 degree single pitch roof higher to the South, where it overhangs to shade summer sun while allowing full sun in winter. The South elevation is double glazed and argon filled. The building gains solar heat, and its mass stores and emits it. The rest of the structure is insulated with a high mass non foam filling.
The first building, the workshop, was the testbed for the principal. In the workshop’s case, thermal mass is a thick concrete floor, the buildings fabric, tools, machinery and materials. The Studio / Domestic building has very little concrete but 12 tonnes of water thermal storage under a wooden floor. Mechanical ventilation heats incoming air and via a heat pump provides domestic hot water. An additional benefit of the building form is needing only one gutter and is perfect for water harvesting.
As spaces to live and work in, the buildings exceed my expectations in running cost, climatic comfort and their uplifting sense of connectedness to the outside world. I hadn’t anticipated the joy of seeing so much sky. There are two later pairs of live / work units built consecutively, the last one, nearing completion, has more internal thermal mass. Tweaking goes on. The main thing to address is over heating in the winter. Thats a nice problem to have.
I have been designing chairs and tables for years, here my interest has been focused on improving environmental performance, comfort, and practicality and through these ideas, visual stimulation is the usual outcome. Applying the same method to housing has much the same result: interesting looking buildings.
I HAVE BEEN COMMISSIONED TO DESIGN SEVERAL MORE BUILDINGS WITH SIMILAR ASPIRATIONS OVER THE PAST COUPLE OF YEARS.
PLEASE GET IN CONTACT WITH ANY ENQUIRIES ABOUT BUILDING DESIGN.