Outhouse Gloucestershire by Loyn and Co Architects

Located in Dean, United Kingdom, this concrete single-storey residence was designed in 2015 by Loyn and Co Architects.

Description by Loyn and Co Architects

The site lies in a sensitive rural location in the Forest of Dean and comprises 4 acres on a south facing gently sloping, wooded hillside. From within the site, there are panoramic views looking towards the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Accordingly, by virtue of its location, the existing property was visible from significant distances. The proposal involved replacing the existing house, with a new highly sustainable, energy efficient dwelling.

The brief was to create a live- work dwelling specific to both the site and to the client’s needs. This included their passion for the landscape and environment along with their requirement for two artist’s studios and a gallery like space. The building was to be contemporary and to respond sensitively and yet positively to the site, creating a timeless, quality architectural solution which will contribute both to the immediate locality and to the wider rural area in general.

From the outset the surrounding natural environment provided the primary source of inspiration for the proposals. The form of the building is derived from the landscape (the slope, trees, levels and the views) and from the site history. The low lying replacement dwelling is embedded into the site, cut into the slope of the hillside and buried to create an earth shelter which is integrated into the landscape.

The footprints of the three existing buildings on the site have been conserved and converted in the new dwelling from ‘inside’ to ‘outside’ spaces. The encompassing roof is created by continuing the existing upper field along and over the building. This provides a highly insulated, intensive green roof as well as linking and binding the spaces together to form a single storey largely open plan home. The footprints of the existing buildings, cut out and now open to the elements, form beautiful sheltered external courtyards, within the interior space. The inside is now outside, the outside is now inside.

The low lying dwelling is hidden from view from the north, concealed within the existing site plateau and topography. Whilst the footprint of the dwelling is significantly increased, its visual impact is considerably reduced. The internal accommodation arranged around the ‘inside outside ’courtyards is organised and split by a central gallery space with the studios set into the hill served by north light.

The dwelling was constructed by ‘Forest Eco Systems’ and includes sustainable technologies such as whole house ventilation with ground to air heat exchanger, solar thermal, photo voltaics and rainwater harvesting. Upon completion the house recorded airtightness of 0.49 h- 1@50Pa well below the threshold for Passivhaus standards.

Photography by Charles Hosea

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- by Matt Watts

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