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Emma & Rupert's Eco-Home: an oasis in the city

I am reaching the age when many of my friends require the services of an architect. Friends are finally buying their own homes and ask me about energy retrofits, extensions, or even a complete replacement dwelling. It was lovely to be asked by my fellow Devonshire chums Emma and Rupert to design their first home together. A real privilege that I accepted wholeheartedly.

Emma and Rupert had their eye on a dilapidated post-war bungalow; a modular housing typology that were built on mass in many Bristol suburbs using a timber/asbestos kit system. Their plan was to demolish the bungalow (which was barely fit for human habitation) and build themselves a new, modest, eco-home on a similar footprint.

Their budget was very small indeed. This meant that the design would need to make the most out of a compact and simple form, and the construction system would need to enable Them to build it almost singlehandedly to save costs. Remarkably, they managed to complete the house within a year, and on budget. Respect!

Emma and Rupert's house is a great example of elegant and joyous architecture within a simple (and therefore inexpensive) form. The form is about as simple as you can get; a single storey rectangle with first floor space housed within a pitched roof. The joy then comes from cutting a chunk out of the first floor to create an atrium in the optimum location; right in the centre and facing south for maximum impact and beneficial solar gains.

This move led to a simple division of the plan into 3 equal bays with the middle bay being the entrance and atrium. This leads to a neat structural strategy and minimises unnecessary circulation.

Additional joy has been lovingly added to the house by Emma and Rupert; a fantastic natural swimming pond, and garden makes this place a calm and natural oasis in the city. I am looking forward to their next project!

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