Bright ideas for green living
The site is located in a spectacular position. The main constraint was due to the fact that the site is in ‘green belt' land, so the architects were not able to build a new house that had a volume more than forty per cent bigger than the original house.
As the original building was so small, the decision was made to put half of the house into the ground. The primary aesthetic aim of the house was a desire to see in all directions, but the clients also wanted to be as green as possible.
In order to find out how close to zero carbon emissions the house could get, the architects began with the simplest of passive energy strategies - super insulation. This was then taken to the next level as the skin of the building was designed to have an adjustable thermal performance which allowed the solid walls to have high-quality insulation, while large sliding glass doors offered degrees of thermal protection. The doors can be opened or closed for ventilation, but are also equipped with large, motorised shutters that close across them to trap heat inside.
The most notable features on the exterior of the house are the mirrored sections. These are honeycombed aluminium panels allowing the building to pick up the greens of the surrounding landscape. The kitchen is the focus of the whole site, opening out onto a morning terrace to the northeast, and onto an evening terrace on the southwest. The house is heated by thermal solar panels and powered by photovoltaics, a 93 metre borehole supplies water to the house and a wood burning stove at the centre of the plan is the only heat source.