Our brief was to provide a 250 to 300m², ‘partially earth sheltered, zero or near zero-carbon contemporary house, taking best advantage of the views over the valley, all to meet or exceed Passivhaus standards.’
The site is adjacent to the Etherow Valley in Charlesworth, Derbyshire. The proposed house is to replace an existing south facing bungalow, which is of poor architectural quality but offers fantastic views to the rear over the valley towards Chisworth. The site is not in a conservation area, but is set in green belt and is designated a Special Landscape Area. There is a 5m cross fall on the site, which will allow a partially earth sheltered form.
The proposal is for a stone and black zinc house set over two storeys, using an inverted floor plan. The building has been positioned on site to partially bury the ground floor accommodation, maximise the amount of south facing rear garden and minimise the North facing front garden adjacent to the road. The ground floor and garage are proposed as two earth sheltered, local grit-stone clad plinths, which step down the hill to reduce their apparent mass. On top of the plinth sits a simple, black zinc clad, pitched roof volume – a contemporary interpretation of the surrounding metal clad farm buildings. Deep set, carved window openings in this simple volume are accentuated with warmer timber panels and linings. The inverted floor plan allows the living, dining and kitchen spaces to take best advantage of the additional height afforded by the pitched roof, and gives these primary accommodation spaces the finest views down the valley. The bedrooms, studies and gym are set in the earth sheltered ground floor plan, overlooking the private rear garden.
The building is being designed to the stringent Passivhaus energy standard - the ‘world’s leading standard in energy efficient construction’ - we are seeking to achieve Passivhaus certification. A rainwater harvesting system is proposed to minimize water demand, solar thermal panels are proposed to assist with DHW production, and PV panels are proposed to offset unregulated electricity use.