Sustainable suburban living in Glasgow's outskirts
‘Beacon’ is a new-build house designed by Don McLean of McLean Architects for his family, along sustainable principles on a tight, challenging suburban site north of Glasgow. It is located on an elevated, south facing site with expansive views over the City of Glasgow to the south, and the hills to the north. To the rear of the property is the Antonine Wall, a World Heritage Site.
The site was identified for the challenge it presented for designing a contemporary home in a dense suburban landscape. The aim was to create an entirely appropriate intervention in a conventional street but to maximise the inherent advantages of elevation and aspect. Thus, all four bedrooms, study and ancillary accommodation are provided at a mid level, with the family room opening out to the rear garden. Garage space is provided below this level. Living / dining / kitchen accommodation is provided at the upper level in an open plan ‘loft’ style space that opens out to the south deck by way of a large bi-folding screen. Further south facing glazing is provided over the stair, enhancing the extent of the view at the upper level.
‘Beacon’ is constructed in Insulated Concrete Formwork, providing heavily insulated and airtight construction of high structural integrity, with concrete mid floors to store passive energy from south-facing glazing. The roof section, finished in stainless steel, creates an overhang to the south providing shading in summer, and facilitates passive solar gain from the low sun-path in the winter months. Primary heating is via an air source heat pump twinned with an under-floor heating system, reducing like-for-like energy use by 40%. A wood burning stove with its own fresh air source direct from outside, to prevent draughts being drawn through the house, provides supplementary heating and a focus.
Following a 10 month build the house was completed in Feb 2009.