'We were unsure if the site was suitable for the size and type of house we wanted to build. But the initial design developed by Studiomove, based on our high level brief of number of rooms, size, general layout, orientation to suit passive house etc. convinced us to go ahead with the purchase. We wanted to build to passive house principles, but were concerned that the aesthetics might suffer as a result. We needn’t have worried - Studiomove Architects were very passionate about passive house construction, but just as importantly about the look and the feel of the house. They stayed with the project from original concept to interior design and fit out, providing huge support and attention to detail for the full life cycle of the house build. We’d highly recommend them for their innovative designs and enthusiasm for eco/passive builds from start to finish.'
Bungalows around a green, beside the river and within walking distance of the city centre - the clients had once lived in this group of houses, and liked it so much that they wanted to return. Built in the 1950s, the decision was made to demolish the house and build a new one to passive standard, despite the challenges of a less than ideal orientation, being overshadowed by an apartment block to the rear/south.
It was important that the new house fitted in with its neighbours. The new front has similar proportions to the surrounding houses, materials and boundary walls that tie in with what is already there.
...with an unexpected ‘wow’ factor
But there is a surprise element on walking through the front door, into the living space that wraps around a courtyard. The curved design gives a pleasant sense of enclosure, with full height windows letting in lots of light. The same flooring continues from inside to out, drawing you into the garden.
The living and master bedroom spaces all look onto the private courtyard garden. The dogs’ shed to the top right has a window looking towards the house, so that they feel connected to whatever’s going on.
‘The Tardis’ is a suitable nickname - from the outside, you’d never guess that so much is going on behind the facade.
The zinc roof rises to created heightened volumes, giving scope for high level windows, which allow light in from different angles throughout the day. Although a more compact form (such as a two storey house) makes it easier to achieve passive standard, being able to play with the roof shape in a single storey makes for exciting spaces. The roof also houses photovoltaic panels, which provide power for the house and an electric car.
Like a favourite seat tucked at the back of a busy café, with a view of everyone coming and going, the kitchen is positioned to feel at the heart of the house, with it’s back up against the side wall. It’s sleek but inviting, and great for working at the island, with the view out to the garden.
As ‘eyes are windows to the soul’, so windows are the single most important element to a house. Josko are an Austrian company that make highly performant triple glazed windows and doors, in a wide range of finishes. A deciding factor in choosing this company was their striking, flush fitting, extra high internal doors, that complement the windows, the recessed skirting detail, and the height of the rooms. The richness of the Venetian Bog Oak works well with the colours of the polished concrete floor, which is warm underfoot - beauty and comfort combined.
It was decided early on that the garden should feel like an extension of the inside. Low level lighting in front of the windows softly washes upwards. The deep, angled overhang is finished with oak battens, with echo the warmth of the windows. It allows winter sun in, gives shade in the summer, and there’s enough room to sit out on the inevitable rainy days!
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