Tag Archives: ECO HOUSE

External Terrace

 This small project makes a big impact! This property has access to particularly impressive vistas but, frustratingly, the former arrangement didn’t allow our client to enjoy the setting fully. We devised a scheme to alter and extend the existing, narrow, raised patio with a circular layout forming an external dining area.
The cylindrical form is wrapped in larch to sympathetically contrast with stonework which features heavily in the original building. A helical stone staircase, beautifully built by H.A Briddon of Tansley, leads to an external lower terrace providing further entertaining space for maximum enjoyment of the gardens and wider landscape.

The Homestead

 A fast flowing watercourse that runs past the house provided an interesting challenge to what was otherwise a fairly straightforward brief! Our response was a glass-enclosed ‘floating’ bridge over the watercourse to more functional utility and bathroom spaces. The extension reads as a garden pavilion, providing an impressive entrance courtyard and improved access to a peaceful, leafy garden beyond.

Sydnope Stand

 It’s not every day we get asked to design an extension to a castle!!!! Pre-application discussions with planning and conservation officers proved lengthy given that the former hunting lodge is within the original curtilage of the listed Sydnope Hall.


The modern extension is cut into the sloping site and appears subservient to the host building. The verticality of the façade treatment reflects the dense woodland surrounding the extension and views out of the living and bedroom spaces give the feeling of being in the tree canopy. A feature plywood wall brings the woodland inside.

Affordable, Zero carbon housing

 Having completed our experimental low energy BASF house at Nottingham University we were asked by the Peak District Rural Housing Association to design 8 zero carbon, affordable homes in the Peak District National Park.

The sensitive location meant we were not able to use some of the low cost industrial building products we specified for the BASF house. We did, however, apply the same passive design principles however.

We suggested a linear development in keeping with the venacular tradition of the historic village centre. This created houses with a north/south aspect. The north, and more visible elevations were simple with traditional detailing, whereas the southern elevations were fully glazed. Trees were planned along the southern boundary for screening and to provide shade from the low level winter sun. The land to the north was to be a community orchard.

We worked with Ian Ward as a consultant to achieve a scheme which would achieve level 6 of the Code for Sustainable Homes.

Overall we were happy with the design, although, given a freer reign, we would have adopted a more contemporary approach to the northern elevations!

There was a great deal of support for the proposal, both because of its sustainability, and because it provided much needed affordable homes for local people.

There was unfortunately a small group of very vocal local people who were opposed to the development. They incorrectly, claimed that the site was a former village green. This involved the Housing Association in a costly legal process which despite being successful in seeing off the claim, ultimately meant that the scheme could not go ahead as planned.

BASF House

 We won a competition to design an experimental one off house to be constructed in the grounds of Nottingham University. The brief required us to produce a solution which could be reproduced as a terrace for approximately a third of the cost of a conventional house and which was sufficiently energy efficient to require no heating!

Our response was to design a house which has a compact floor area and relies on passive solar design. The design is extremely simple. The house has highly insulated north, east and west walls with the minimum number of openings compatible with acceptable daylight levels. The southern elevation consists of a fully glazed two-layer sun space.

The sun space can be used to assist heating and cooling by opening or closing both layers to the inside/outside depending on the season and weather conditions.

The stepped profile roof, and an open ground floor plan creates low pressure around high level windows at the top of the roof space internally which helps to naturally encourage a flow of air through the house which further helps both heating and cooling.

Ducting laid underground during construction provides a constant supply of air at around 10ºC whatever the season. This can be admitted into the sun space to pre-heat or pre-cool the space.

We wanted the house to be fun to live in, which some low energy projects tend not to be. The sun space therefore can be inhabited at ground and first floor level to interconnect living and bedroom spaces and create a sense of drama.

Sustainable Design

 Whilst sustainability is a key aspect of all of our projects some offer greater opportunities than others.

Our most published and visible project is the BASF house at Nottingham University which is designed to be low cost and require no heating. Our Sure Start children’s centre in Derby won, amongst other awards, the first East Midlands RIBA award for Sustainable Design.

As part of the design process we always sit down with our clients and discuss their energy needs and advise them as to how the design of a building can dramatically reduce energy consumption. Where possible we try to place buildings in a way which makes best use of natural resources and daylight.