Rural House in Wallingford, Oxfordshire
This new contemporary house in the Oxfordshire countryside is designed to provide supremely comfortable accommodation on the site of former agricultural and storage buildings. The new house and adjoining live/work units are expected to be certified to the Passivhaus low energy standard which requires energy use to be reduced to a realistic minimum whilst remaining warm inside, even in the middle of winter.
This approach to house design is usually chosen by discerning clients for its low running costs, continuous fresh air and even internal temperatures. However, at Oakleywood, the remote site location was also a key reason for adopting Passivhaus. The electricity supply to the site has proved to be unreliable in the past, and repairs have taken a long time to fix.
Even without heating, a Passivhaus will maintain a relatively stable temperature inside if there is a power cut, and if electricity is required a small on-site temporary generator is all that will be needed.
The main house faces west across an open field, optimising heat gain from the sun. Approaching the house from the south, the visitor passes through a series of external and internal spaces of varying spatial character, culminating in the dramatic double height main living space. To the north of the house, the live/work units provide working space and accommodation and form a series of enclosed courtyards.
The project is now on site.