Sense And Sensibility
This replacement dwelling in the Co.Down creates a flexible family home which is ecologically sensitive whilst being economially sensible, by BGA Architects.
The brief for this replacement dwelling was to create a flexible family home which was ecologically sensitive whilst being economically sensible.
Passive solar design principles such as orientation and an efficient plan form shaped the early design decisions. The simple pitched roofed rectangular plan form faces directly south with all habitable spaces collecting solar gain throughout the day. The uninterrupted south facing roof slope harnesses solar energy. The simple shape is only broken on the west to create a contemporary sun space which collects the last of the evening sun. A vernacular stone outhouse including a large log store was positioned to the rear of the site enclosing a sheltered courtyard and breaking the cold north winds.
The majority of the south facing elevation is floor to ceiling glazing creating sunlight filled internal spaces and at the same time allowing nature and the changing seasons to embrace the house. In contrast, the northern elevation is fully clad in reclaimed stone with only small window punched through were required. The external palette of materials is kept to a minimum with natural slate, stone and timber being the predominant finishes with a small amount of white render used to finish the contemporary sun space.
Internally, the ground floor is essentially one large flexible open plan living space which can be split up as necessary with sliding glass partitions to create three separate functions. The kitchen, utility and store are located on the north wall to limit excessive solar gain. A double height dining space is placed centrally with high level roof windows to allow for natural stack effect ventilation, drawing cold air up through the middle of the plan to cool the house in the summer time. Upstairs is efficiently organised limiting circulation space to provide three large bedrooms and a mezzanine study space which all face south, the non-habitable ancillary uses such as ensuite, bathroom, hot press and stairs are positioned towards the north.
Behind the scenes this intelligent house employs a number of sensible sustainable features including solar panels to heat hot water with the provision for future photovoltaic panels to generate micro electricity, rainwater harvesting system, log burning central heating boiler, recycled paper and hemp wool insulation, whole house mechanical ventilation system with heat recovery and a timber frame structure with an air-tight envelope.
The dwelling has been highly crafted and attention to detail from conception to completion has been one of the successes in creating this exciting sustainable rural dwelling.