21.4.2014

Stackyard in Suffolk, United Kingdom

Stackyard is a new-build two-storey rural house neighbouring a Grade II listed farmhouse on the edge of the village of Palgrave in Suffolk. Designed as a new home for a retiring couple it is a modern house with an exposed timber structure, maximum natural light, sustainable features.

The house takes its name from the agricultural enclosure typical to the area, which is used to store sheafs of corn. Located on the edge of the farmland the house opens up views to the north west and creates a space from which to enjoy the surrounding landscape. The house sits within the ground, with an in-situ concrete base, timber frame and silvered timber cladding.

It’s form takes inspiration from classical rectories that typically stand at the edge of villages, with a square plan and strong roofline. Split levels negotiate the sloping site and the design departs from its classical predecessors in its use of an asymmetrical composition of windows, solar screens, and doorways, giving the elevations a less formal appearance. Inside a generous entrance hall opens into a double height atrium leading into living quarters with high ceilings and deep timber beams demonstrating the primary timberframe structure.

Responding to the client’s brief for a space to observe nature, the upper bedroom sits half a floor higher than the parapet, with a projecting roof sheltering the room from summer sun, creating a cap to the building while reinforcing its position as both retreat and hide.

The property showcases hi-tech low energy design solutions in a contemporary vernacular scheme, allowing the owners to embrace a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle in a house which harmonises with its rural setting. Stackyard is designed to Passivhaus standards, incorporating high levels of insulation and an airtight envelope. Its compact form reduces energy loss and its orientation makes use of solar gain. Window sizes have been restricted with openings predominantly towards the south. Solar collectors on the roof provide hot water, and solar photovoltaic roofing is located on the garage roof, and rainwater collected for garden use.

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