Oak Tree Passivhaus

Design and Delivery: MawsonKerr with Richard Pender

Oak Tree Passivhaus is an exemplar in  low energy residential architecture, innovative in both the process and the finished building which, in the words of the client is a delight to live in.’ It is also the first Certified Passivhaus in Tyneside thus combining ‘delight’ with robustness in design and delivery.

Sited on a steep slope with mine workings beneath, bedrock, ground gas, and TPO trees, the scheme overcame these difficult constraints with a layout that captures long views across the Derwent Valley and framed views of the nearby protected oak tree.

High ceilings and large format windows allow for a great quality of daylight and a sense of airiness. Utilising the sloping ground the main entrance is to the Upper ground floor which accommodates the open plan living spaces and a bedroom/shower with the remaining bedrooms on the lower ground floor.  This configuration allows the client to live solely on the upper floor if needed, future proofing for any eventuality.

A twin timber frame was designed for the main structure, filled with a large thickness of insulation with minimal thermal bridging. Insulation and lining materials were chosen to ensure a “breathable” construction, promoting longevity and a healthy environment.

Local and low embodied carbon materials were chosen, such as Larch cladding from the Scottish Borders and stone gabions from the site bedrock. The only steel in the building was use in the slender fins that hang the balcony from the overhanging roof whilst also supporting the timber solar shading. This accumulates in the total embodied carbon being lower than the RIBA Climate-Challenge target for 2030.

Awards

RIBA North East – Shortlisted pending result
Construction Excellence NE – Sustainability Commendation

Lodge House, Gosforth

Located in a conservation area the design drivers of the extension and refurbishment of a dilapidated stone lodge were to preserve the unique character of the lodge whilst providing modern living for the client and a sense of space. The extension is of unique character and unashamedly contemporary whilst still respecting the context. The extension provides a large cooking, eating and entertaining space and an additional bedroom and rationalises previous substandard additions to the lodge.

The natural materials of the zinc roof and the stained rough sawn blackened timber cladding compliments the natural stone and slate of the existing lodge. The asymmetrically nature of the extension roof allows for volumetric interest internally and for North light to penetrate the space, reducing overheating and glare.

Plinth House, Northumberland

Plinth House is located within the existing sunken walled garden of a Victorian Manor House. The proposal is for a highly contextual and contemporary home, providing a sensitive response to the setting of this Country pile, its grounds, and the openness of the Greenbelt area. The house has two main elements the 'plinth' wrapping around the garden and the 'pavilion' sitting on top of the plinth. The design allows for the intimate views, tranquility and the connection with the outside – the 'Plinth'. Long views across the valley, openness and connection to the upper entrance level - the 'Pavilion'.

The design in effect creates a cloister that sits within the existing parameters of the sunken garden and reaches out into the garden. Part of the cloister is glazed and therefore creating the internal spaces and part external with the outdoor kitchen and South facing sitting area.

Our approach has been to integrate off-grid and environmental technologies that are unobtrusive to the house' functionality. The major features to allow the house to have low energy and carbon strategies are: embedded solar to the roof of the pavilion, ground source heat in the walled garden and battery technology coupled with super insulation and airtightness to enable an off grid dwelling.

Cantilever House

We are appointed to create a new housing model which can be arranged and adaptable to suit multiple locations across a steeply sloping rural site, providing multiple living conditions within the same structural framework.

County Durham has many sites of significant terrain, which can present issues to standard housing types but here we made this situation an opportunity for the cantilever living space. The design has sleeping accommodation embedded into the site in the lower ground floor area which in itself becomes a plinth for the larger accommodation block above to soar over. Designed as a timber frame solution, the upper block can be arranged with several bedroom options, larger vaulted living space and a number of cladding alternatives giving a variety of outcomes.

The palette of external materials in this self build development keeps to a rural and natural temperament, this has been driven with a strong sustainable agenda. The palette relates strongly to vernacular architecture giving connection within the area and an indication of availability both locally and naturally. The material palette we are suggesting for the scheme includes natural stone, timber cladding and glass maximising daylight.

Jesmond House as seen on Channel 4

Working in collaboration with Zac Monro we designed (co-authors with Zac) and delivered this high profile project which was aired Channel 4 Inside Out Homes.

The brief was to connect, both physically and visually, the large semi-detached home with the garden and provide a high quality kitchen, dining and family space, within the existing house and a single storey extension. The extension is unashamedly modern and bold with huge sliding doors and chrome coated fin columns. A large slit rooflight allows for natural light to penetrate the existing house and the open plan helps create an airy space.

The studio garden is a vis a vis of the extension but in a thin profile timber cladding which seamlessly wraps the rest of the garden. Using high end materials and careful detailing the quality of the finished project has prevailed.

More can be found out about the project and the suppliers on this link:

http://www.insideouthomes.co.uk/

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/inside-out-homes

http://www.z-m-a.co.uk/

Back High Street Mixed Use Scheme

Back High Street is a tight historic alley through the Gosforth conservation area of Newcastle characterised in recent history for the small industrial units nestled in the tight urban grain. Several had become vacant over time with an opportunity for redevelopment.

Our scheme unlocks the site with a new three floor block for multiple uses. A single five bedroom courtyard house has been created with passive house aspirations, rooftop productive garden and its own private access. This sits back to back with a block comprising office on the ground floor and two floors of assisted living apartments. This fronts onto the Back High Street giving the street enhanced frontage. The material palette has been developed giving a distinctive urban character that we hoped complements the neighbouring context.

Darras Hall House as seen on Channel 4

In our second collaboration with Zac Monro, we designed (co-authors with Zac) and delivered this high profile project which had its own episode on Channel 4 Inside Out Homes.

The brief was to enhance the connection, both physically and visually, between the house and the garden. In addition to this the clients wanted to totally modernise and enlarge their dormer bungalow which was suffering from damp and structural issues.

Working within the confines of the strict local planning law we have produced a dynamic and contemporary interpretation of a dormer bungalow will 5-6 bedrooms with huge windows and open plan living to the ground floor. The use of natural light and inventive space creation makes a special place the client can call home and allows for the flexibility for their growing family. Homely yet unashamedly modern.

More can be found out about the project and the suppliers on this link:

http://www.insideouthomes.co.uk/
http://www.channel4.com/programmes/inside-out-homes
http://www.z-m-a.co.uk/

Gosforth Residential Reworking

We worked with a client looking to fully overhaul a property creating a family home in the Gosforth area of Newcastle. The family were keen that the garden linked visually to the house with clear lines of sight from the kitchen and living spaces. Working with the existing structure rather than against, the ground floor has been opened up and connected but allows for a certain separation when different tasks are happening in separate areas.

While the interior has an unashamedly modern feel, the light airy spaces and connection to the garden soften the ambience and give a homely feel. The project also involved a single storey extension at ground level and master bedroom within the roof void with en-suite and study space within the confines of the queen post truss. A full electrical overhaul was required with underfloor heating incorporated into the entire ground floor providing energy efficient heat.