In 2012 Ash Sakula won an open design competition to construct a terrace of exemplary carbon neutral affordable homes which contained cues for sustainable living and could be replicated on other sites.
Ash Sakula won over the jury and local residents with a convincing narrative of how every corner of their home could have a different character and support the adventures of daily life. Everyone was excited by a proposal that brings the construction industry closer to turning out homes that are inherently sustainable via a fabric first principle, with extra thick walls creating a cosy interior that is inexpensive to heat. The house uses an unheated conservatory entrance as a rougher space for family projects and an unusually expansive place to greet guests.
Low-impact living is built in. Intelligent provision has been made for cycling, drying clothes naturally and recycling and south-facing roofs are fitted with photovoltaic panels, while smart meters and energy display units give residents the tools they need to live economically and sustainably.
Ash Sakula went on to develop a range of different configurations for the eco-terrace typology, including three- and four-bedroom variants.
2016 RIBA Award for Architecture. Jury Chair's comment: "A place of joy".
2016 RIBA Stephen Lawrence Award Shortlist
2015 What House? Award
Inside and outside are thoughtfully connected. Homes are entered through a single-glazed, uninsulated, indoor-outdoor room - a meet-and-greet threshold space that serves as a boot room, greenhouse, playspace and all-round stress-reducing extra space. An additional external store comfortably houses bicycles and tools.
Each house is a compact cube with a roof tipped up to the sun, capturing energy from the sun to dry clothes, heat water, and generate electricity. Front garden spaces opening out from the kitchens become courtyards where residents design their fences to suit their preferred relationship to the neighbourhood; framing a single view, or quite private, or building playful shelves for decoration and exchanging plants. Scooters and bikes have their own front door to a separate shed.
The eco-homes sit comfortably alongside historic brick dwellings to the rear of an old military fire station, now an exhibition centre for low energy housing. The new homes and stained timber fencing enliven a forgotten yard.
The homes are unusually wide, allowing for a central staircase and the chance to create a playful circular route. there are corners for diverse activities including study, home businesses, watching films, cooking, eating, and making new stuff happen.
Roof-mounted photovoltaic panels on sweet chestnut shake roofs, large windows and sunken patios. The garden behind the houses is shared, but each house has its own patio - a subtle and innovative treatment of the boundary between personal and communal space.
A tall, skinny building, a smaller variant of the terraced houses, is a communal recycling and refuse space. It also provides an attic-home for bats, and eaves for house martins to nest in.
Locally-sourced sweet chestnut shakes cover roofs and run down the north gable wall.
Sweet chestnut shakes and thin coat render cladding over thick wood-fibre insulation.
Rooftop photovoltaic panels are supplemented by additional panels on the old fireman's tower.
The design is closely attuned to the rhythms and rigours of family life, using traditional features in new ways. Here the upstairs landing doubles as a laundry.
The houses are well adapted for inclusive living and meet all aspects of the detailed Lifetime Homes criteria.
Client: The Radian Group
Schedule: Three 2-bedroom terraced houses for social rent
Gross Internal Area: 94 m2 per home
Completed: April 2015