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Limpley Stoke Eco-House

Project Title: Limpley Stoke Eco-house, Near Bath

Client: Private

Architect: Hewitt Studios LLP

Structural Engineer: Integral Engineering Design

Main contractor: ER Hemmings

Joinery company: Newson

Wood supplier: Crendon

QS / CDMC: Ridge and Partners LLP

M&E Engineer: Hicks Titley  Partnership

Landscape Architect: b:d Landscape Architects

Project Description:

The project consists a contemporary new home located on a spectacular hillside site, with views overlooking a pristine woodland valley. The dwelling delivers very high levels of comfort and sustainability (a “Zero Carbon” home in operation), whilst making the most of its unique aspect.

The building form derives from the particular environmental constraints of the site, running approximately east-west along its contours. The plan form is angled slightly on the upper storey, so that the western edge addresses the site entrance, whilst the eastern edge addresses the views along the valley.

The project makes extensive use of prefabrication (to minimise on-site works), local materials (to minimise embodied energy) and sustainable technologies, all within a low-impact form which is respectful of its neighbours and surroundings. As a result, the project utilises many innovative construction techniques, such as the a ‘triangular’ cross-laminated timber roof structure, pre-fabricated straw-bale wall panels and a green sedum roof. The client also owned an extensive collection of crafted timber furniture, which informed the detailed treatment of the timber architectural components.

– Timber Structure

The building is planned on a unique triangular grid which evolved as an elegant means by which to ‘crank’ the floor plan (in order to better address the site entrance) without requiring any intermediate beams or columns. The roof structure is formed from a series of isosceles triangles made from sustainably-sourced ‘mass’ timber panels. This is an attractive self-finished material which is expressed both internally and externally (over the covered terrace). The joints between the panels are rebated in order to accommodate a recessed lighting track which serves to highlight the triangular geometry. These triangular sheets are supported by splayed V shaped laminated veneer lumber columns, with the fine 3mm laminations exposed on their leading edge.

– Prefabricated Wall Panels

The walls of the upper floor consist of prefabricated timber panels. These use the excellent thermal insulation qualities of straw bale to form panels with timber frames and plywood faces, made in a local ‘flying factory’. They allow super-insulated, high-performance, lowenergy ‘passive’ buildings to be built using renewable, carbon- sequestering materials (the straw bales were provided from local farms where possible).

– Timber Cladding

The upper floor of the building is clad with vertical slatted timber. It is also used as solar shading to the staircase, as well as for external gates / fences. All timber is locally-sourced where possible and is left untreated. It will fade to a silver/grey colour with time, thereby reducing the visual impact of the building in its surroundings. English-grown Western Red Cedar is the primary variety.

– Insitu Concrete

Insitu concrete is used extensively on the lower floor in order to retain the hillside and to create thermal mass. Rough-sawn timber board shuttering was used in order to soften the appearance of the concrete and to relate it to the timber cladding used elsewhere.