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forresterarchitects - Pond House


A new build house in Norfolk designed to 'Passivhaus' principles. A new build house in Stalham, Norfolk Broads has been designed to Passivehaus principles by London based studio forresterarchitects. From the outset the client was keen to provide an environmentally responsive and sustainably designed solution with the garden pond to remain a central feature within a well-established garden.

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A view from the garden gate.

A view from the garden gate. 

A view of the south facing lounge space.

A view of the south facing lounge space. 

A view of the lounge from the garden terrace.

A view of the lounge from the garden terrace. 

A view of the house from the garden.

A view of the house from the garden. 

Limited windows of the north facing facade to save energy.

Limited windows of the north facing facade to save energy.  

From the initial design stages the house has been developed in accordance with the Passivhaus Planning Package (PhPP). The PhPP was used as a key design tool and has been used to refine the building to ensure an energy efficient solution.

This was primarily achieved by adopting a fabric first approach to the design, specifying high levels of insulation to the thermal envelope with exceptional levels of air tightness. The heating requirements are reduced to the point where a traditional heating system is no longer considered essential.

The single-storey house is located primarily to respond to the south facing aspect of the site. The accommodation is organised into two distinct and separate volumes, namely living rooms and bedrooms.
The mono-pitched roof of the main living room benefits from a double height volume, which allows warm air to rise naturally to the highest point of the roof. This strategy is developed further providing a key design principle for the interior to benefit from controlled solar gain. The bedroom accommodation is expressed in a more traditional dual pitch form which allows the internal head heights to remain relatively modest. The ceiling remains inclined as the east facing high level fenestration aids early solar gain from the early morning. To the colder North facing elevation the fenestration is limited but offers framed high-level views of the surrounding area to maximise on north light and minimise heat loss.

The materials are simple yet robust. The house is clad with rough sawn untreated Siberian Larch, which is used not only for the walls but also across the entire roof. The installation of solar thermal and photovoltaic panels supplement the environmental strategy with photovoltaic panels used to generate electricity and solar thermal panels used to heat the water. As part of the design strategy and in response to our discussion with the Broads Authority the panels appear flush and fully integrated into to the overall roof construction. The rainwater guttering is also concealed within the roof and wall construction to allow the building profile to appear continuous and uninterrupted.

In keeping with the Broads Authority's desire to encourage sustainable drainage strategies and in keeping with the key principles of the development a sustainable drainage solution (SuDS) was employed.

Word from the architect

"The Norfolk and Suffolk Broads is Britain's largest protected wetland and third largest inland waterway, with the status of a national park it is a particularly sensitive location to new-build developments. Expressed as an identifiable traditional form, the proposed house draws references from the vernacular forms, materials and how they are positioned in the landscape."