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Nick Willson Architects

Monday 12 Mar 2012

Crafting a sustainable home

Gareth Gardner 
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Nick Willson Architects explore a palette of materials whilst creating a sustainable home 

The Flint House combines new sustainable technologies with a rich mixture of craft elements: a flint wall, lead cladding and timber joinery, each handmade by specialists, with unique windows and doors, distinctive joinery, custom-made door handles - even specially integrated baby gates.

On plan, the house is divided into four wings - two to the west and two to the east. All four areas are linked by a central circulation route and library space, visually connected by a large glazed element next to the entrance. Externally, these different elements are expressed with a subtle palette of materials, which are in harmony with the surrounding buildings and reflect their orientation and function. The two west wings are clad in a mixture of split flint and render. Unifying the overall composition, the warm render is a constant background to the flint, which only covers the rear of the house. The east elevation, which brings together the landscape, home and garden, is enclosed in a ribbon of vertical oak cladding that runs from the ground floor, along the terrace and first floor walls. The house therefore has a strong element of texture and materiality, from the rough flint of the exterior to the smooth resin and white tongue and groove joinery, which wraps around the interior. The vertical lines of the exterior oak are reflected in the lines of the interior joinery within the kitchen and hallway.

The Flint House makes use of a highly insulated timber frame, combining Finn forest I joists and robust details for air tightness. The oak is English and A star rated in terms of FSC. In addition, solar thermal panels were fitted with smart meters to provide the house with sustainable heating. The house also makes use of natural ventilation and a sedum roof above the new garage.

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