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Cork Oak House








Cork Oak House proposes a sensitive yet entirely modern two storey home in Breckland. Planning permission is being sought under Paragraph 80 of the National Planning Policy Framework.

The proposal’s approach to low energy, low impact design aims to provide an exemplar 21st century home at a time when the both the national government and local councils have declared a climate emergency.


Innovation Strategy: Circular Design and Cork

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

Studio Bark is collaborating 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.


Circular Design
The building fabric looks to eliminate materials that cannot be disassembled, reused and/or easily recycled. Working alongside the SRI we have developed a building fabric design that significantly reduces waste to landfill compared to traditional construction methods.


The cork functions as three materials in one; an aesthetically pleasing external finish, a high quality natural insulation and a hygroscopic external membrane. The Sustainability Research Institute have highlighted how other constructional applications of cork have to date 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


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.


Further information about the project can be found at www.corkoakhouse.co.uk

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