Studio Bark received full planning approval for Orchard House in 2016 and is currently under construction. It comprises a two-storey, four bedroom environmental home in the green belt. The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) Paragraph 79 (formerly Paragraph 55) allows individual countryside homes to be built, provided that they reflect the highest standards of architecture, sustainability and innovation.
Orchard House is a rigorously sustainable home for an environmentally conscious young family. The project was conceived through the client’s childhood memories of time spent in the former Orchard, helping his Grandfather drive the Rotavator and his grandmother pick the fruit. 30 years on, the Orchard will now be restored using a considered mix of local species, with its longevity being secured by this modest contextual house.
The varied orientations of the building’s elevations combined with the ‘mithril-like’ larch cladding, present moments of permeability, rhythm and depth. This careful consideration of form and materiality has been designed to complement the haphazard verticality of the proposed Orchard and assimilate the building into its surroundings. The concealed timber shutters provide both user-controlled solar shading, whilst also allowing the building to hunker down at night or during the hottest summer days. The two living cubes have been arranged with inset terraces to respond to the two main aspects; across the fields to the east and out to the woodland to the southwest. The connecting link replaces traditional circulation, whilst presenting a calming and green transition space for reading and quiet reflection.
The environmental strategy is centred around simplicity, using a combination of local and low impact materials to provide simple, honest and beautiful spaces. The building’s ‘link’ provides a user-controlled solar space, thermal buffer and passive ventilation system in one. Since conception of Periscope House (as featured on C4’s Grand Designs, August 2014), Studio Bark have been researching and developing PHCC technology using a combination of Trombe principles and scientific methodologies, including thermal mass parameters, stack-effect ventilation and embodied energy calculations. Through ongoing monitoring using the latest in thermal imaging technology, Studio Bark have refined the system to dramatically reduce heat demand, improve internal air quality and buffer internal temperatures. Using a combination of basic environmental principles, simple technologies and passive systems, Orchard House will be one of the lowest impact buildings in the country.
“Designs of the quality and architectural and environmental merit of Orchard House are unfortunately rare. We need more of them to inspire our neighbourhoods that low impact living is possible without sacrificing our culture, history, comfort and local landscape.” – Sofie Pelsmakers DipArch MScArch MRes ARB RIBA, Environmental Architect / Consultant / Researcher & Lecturer
“This project has taken us on a journey of experimentation and design development, working very closely with our fantastic client to develop a design that responds both to the complexities of a small former Orchard and the needs of an environmentally committed young family. We can’t wait to get the building on site and get our teeth stuck in to the juicy detailing.” – Wilf Meynell, Director, Studio Bark