Sustainable Home Design Competition

We like to champion the value of sustainable home design wherever we can.

It’s something we always explore with our clients and revel in the opportunity to create low energy, sustainable homes wherever possible. When Robert Wilson-a Director at Granit-bought his new house in Clapham in 2010, we did everything we could to test out what was possible with green retrofit technologies as it was refurbished. You can read all about it here. It was a huge success and we were even able to open it up during London’s Open House to show what had been achieved.

Last year Robert was on the move again. This time to a home he found in Battersea. True to form, Robert wanted to use this project to test out what was possible with sustainable design and ideally to meet the EnerPHit standard, which is the Passivhaus standard for retrofit projects. He set a competition for Granit’s team to come up with some innovative thinking and to see how things had moved on since the last project.

Two projects were ultimately successful and you can see a summary of each below. But first, what was the brief?

Essentially to transform an end of terrace 1970s built house in Battersea into an energy-efficient, contemporary family dwelling. The scheme needed to

  • provide space for Robert’s family and Schnoodle dog
  • to provide a comfortable and beautiful home fit for the next 20 years.
  • to be as efficient as possible, with minimal running costs and with a low carbon footprint

Here’s a photograph of the existing house:

battersea home design

Here are the two schemes submitted by the team.

Scheme 1: Loft Extension and Reorganisation by Mantas Gaigalas

Mantas’s scheme focused on dropping the floor height and going up into the loft to create extra space. He then rearranged the floor plans to better suit Robert’s brief. You can see in the model below how the building would be transformed.

Here’s how Mantas describes his proposed scheme:

The setting of the house makes it a prominent feature in the area, which helped drive the dramatic concept of the proposal. This is present in the new concertina-like roof extension that reflects the pitched dormers and roofs to the historic building across the road.

sustainable home design

Robert was very interested in Passivhaus construction and was keen to implement a number of renewable energy systems including MVHR, Solar Panels and Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP). This was explored in the proposal that comprised the construction of an entirely new insulated timber frame system built inside the existing shell.

This enabled the existing structural walls to be preserved, whilst openings had been carefully designed to unveil the existing building construction. Running along one of these structural walls is a spiral staircase that comprises openings across each flight to create views into different spaces.

sustainable home design

Rooms are laid out carefully to ensure that they can be adapted over the years. For example; the Ground floor has been intentionally left open to provide flexibility when deciding on furnishings and the layout of the Kitchen.

sustainable home design

The concrete plinth along the bottom of the new additions provide a sense of belonging, whilst the contrasting lightweight timber slatted walls are used to reflect the distinctive linear detailing on the residential blocks opposite the site.

Scheme 2: Manuel Urbina

Manual’s scheme went in the other direction, creating a lower ground floor for extra habitable space, including an entertainment room, wine cellar, shower room and external courtyard to make the most use of the site and considering the need for a sustainable home design.

sustainable home design

Here’s how Manuel describes his proposed scheme:

The proposal seeks to establish a relationship between the ‘old + new’. I have used the existing outline of the original building as the shell and integrated new modern elements like minimal frame glazing between the ‘old + new’ conjunctions.
sustainable home design
The floor layouts were configured to suit everyday living, such as open living, kitchen, dining space allowing for max daylight on the ground floor and levelled threshold access to the garden and front patio.
sustainable home design
The first floor consists of the master bedroom with ensuite, an additional bedroom in the new extension and built-in storage that leads to a family bathroom.
sustainable home design
The second floor is essentially is private space for potential visitors and a new addition to the family with a third bedroom, including an en-suite. There is a fourth bedroom that can double as a studio/office space which would be ideal in the current Covid crisis, where we are all working from home much more.
Here’s how the scheme would look from the approaching road:
sustainable home design

Unfortunately, the purchase of the property eventually fell through and neither scheme will therefore ever come to life.

However, the competition was enjoyable for our team and allowed us to push the boundaries of our thinking with designing for modern family living and sustainable home design. Thankfully, Robert has gone on to buy a different property and our work has started all over again.