ProjectCork Oak House




A traditional country home for the 21st Century and beyond

A traditional country home for the 21st Century and beyond

Cork Oak House proposes a sensitive yet entirely modern two storey home in Breckland. Planning permission was sought under Paragraph 84 of the National Planning Policy Framework.

Natural materials provide a warm and enticing palette, while reducing the home's overall carbon impact. The house is an exemplar of the use of cork in construction, and truly circular building design.

Drawing of approach to Cork Oak House

Radical Materiality

Cork Oak House was designed to set a new benchmark in sustainable design. Responding to the climate emergency, the proposal takes an approach to design and construction that would result in the lowest impact building in Breckland and one of the lowest impact residential buildings in the UK.

Studio Bark collaborated with the Sustainability Research Institute (SRI) at the University of East London to undertake rigorous material testing and to develop the scheme in keeping with circular principles.

Photo of person working with cork material

Truly Circular Design

The building fabric is designed to use only materials that can be disassembled, reused and/or easily recycled. Working alongside the SRI we orchestrated a design that would significantly reduce waste to landfill compared to traditional construction methods.

Drawing of cork oak house

The Benefits of Cork

The benefits of cork are threefold; it has a beautiful external finish, is a high quality natural insulation, and also a hygroscopic external membrane. The Sustainability Research Institute highlight how other constructional applications of cork to date have required the use of toxic glues to bond the material to a substrate. This results in higher embodied carbon, more risk of toxic off-gassing and an inability to re-use or recycle this material.

Development of the Cork Oak House has involved significant evolution of our innovative U-Build modular timber frame system, combined with the use of cork. This combination will have a very low embodied carbon impact, exceptional thermal performance, will be easily dismantled (ready for the circular economy) and be largely compostable at the end of its life

Drawing of biodiversity impact

Landscape Design

The site strategy proposes a substantial amount of re-wilding of the site as well as incorporating features as suggested by the Ecologist, including bird and bat boxes, additional tree planting, wild flower meadows and hibernaculars. The aim is to create a tapestry of habitats and wildlife to thrive.

Existing and established hedgerow boundaries will be retained with new hedgerows introduced to support them. A buffer zone around the hedgerows will support movement of fauna. This area will be very lightly managed on yearly cycles.

Our Work

Cover Image for Thatch House

Thatch House

Cover Image for The Cork Studio

The Cork Studio

Cover Image for Shropshire Farm

Shropshire Farm