The clients brief called for a super energy efficient, state of the art, contemporary home. The client required a five bedroom, four bathroom house, with study and sun terraces. The whole site was to be landscaped. The clients were particularly concerned with the outlooks of rooms making the most of the Southerly views and overcoming the problems of site access on such a steeply sloping site. An Eco house was a high priority. Site Design Their site was on a stunning south facing hillside on the end of the Hog’s back overlooking Guilford and the North Downs. It was previously part of the gardens to the neighbouring house. Views of near and far distant landscape are immense and by estate agents standards place a premium of 30% on the already high property values within the area. The house is angled to make the most of the views with all habitable rooms facing South.
Terraces step up the middle of the house to create external spaces looking out over the countryside. The house has been split into a lower level guest bedroom and study area, a middle level (and entry level) open plan living kitchen dining space, which can be used as a whole or subdivided, and a top floor master bedroom suite. Both the top and middle floors have south facing balconies.The building was constructed mainly as a timber frame brick clad shell, which incorporated vast quantities of insulation to help minimise heat losses. The roofs are covered in stainless steel. The garage has an intensive green roof to be extensively planted with native species. Environmental Design The architects have designed a house with full heat recovery and an air source heat pump, for heating and cooling. It also has solar panels and a thermal store. The South facing nature of the house allows passive solar gain to be utilised to help heat the house. A central 3 storey staircase is incorporated to create stack effect ventilation to induce air movement when necessary up and out 2 large rooflights, acting like a chimney to prevent overheating. The house is super insulated achieving U values of 0.10, double the standard of the current building regulations and minimising heat losses. Windows are high performance argon filled and the large areas of glazing minimise the need for artificail lighting. A rainwater harvesting tank is included in the garden and this provides water for flushing toilets and watering the gardens. Materials The house is constructed largely of timber frame panels all forestry stewardship council registered. These are fully insulated and clad in brickwork, a mixture of Surrey cream with a Staffordshire slate blue plinth. All roof rafters are exposed at eaves level to allow the structure to be ‘read’ from below. Cedar boarded panels are used to provide articulation to the entrance and to kitchen and living room projecting boxes.