Fraser Brown MacKenna Architects have secured planning consent from the London Borough of Bexley for Gallions Housing Association for the retrofit of a property on the Thamesmead Estate. The project will test and monitor the effectiveness of new products to improve energy efficiency, as part of the Retrofit for the Future initiative. The scheme is one of eighty seven projects across the UK being undertaken as part of the experimental programme.
The principal strategy is to increase insulation levels by over-cladding the property. An insulated render system on the walls, a silicone render system on the roof and new triple glazed windows will minimise heat loss. The plans also include a prototype nanogel trombe wall on the southern elevation to test this revolutionary new product. Nanogel can provide the same insulation level as external cladding at just one quarter of the thickness. The trombe wall consists of a cavity between a concrete wall and a south facing translucent element. Incoming solar radiation heats the cavity, providing warmth.
The design has been developed in consultation with Gallions Housing Association, and Buro Happold aims to provide a new layout that offers a home suitable for up to nine people in order to meet the demands of larger families on the estate. The proposed strategy will see the relocation of the kitchen/dining room, the enclosure of the existing first floor walkway, and the reconfiguration of the living accommodation to provide two additional bedrooms.