Steel Farm wins Small Project in UK Passivhaus Trust Awards

steel farm with chicken
© Passivhaus Trust/ Steel farm with chicken

The Small project award winner at the Passivhaus Trust awards in the UK was the Steel Farm, designed by Mark Siddall of LEAP..

It sounds bucolic, but you do not want to build in what they call in Britain an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, unless you are an architect on per diem or a client who won the National Lottery; the planning constraints are major and everyone is a critic. "A number of conditions imposed by the local planning department increased costs and nearly prevented the Gospel’s from building their dream home. Delicate negotiations were undertaken to demonstrate the value offered to the local and regional economy, and the environment." But in the end architect Mark Siddall pulled it off for clients Trevor and Judith Gospel (organic farmers who did not win the lottery. )

© via Passivhaus Trust

Forgive the long quote from the architect's website but it is wonderful.

As organic farmers Trevor and Judith Gospel owned a plot of land where they dreamt of building a comfortable home that could accommodate them in their old age and minimise their impact upon the environment. More than anything Trevor and Judith longed to build their own home so their grandchildren could come and stay.

In the mean time they rented a small, gloomy bothy with damp walls and mould in the bathroom. There wasn’t enough space for their grandchildren to stay over, and to make matters worse in the bitterly cold winter of 2011, they found that the inside of their fridge was warmer than in their living room. As if that were not bad enough the wood burning stove spewed soot and particulates into the living room. It would be fair to say that the bothy was unsuitable for habitation.

Finances were tight so careful consideration had to be given to the budget at all times. The remote rural location, limited access to utility mains, and onerous planning restrictions incurred significant costs and have strongly influenced design.

(Bothys are little cabins; here is an upscale one we have shown on TreeHugger.

© Passivhaus Trust

Steel Farm comes from the earth: sun kissed walls are natural stone drawn from the quarry nearest to the site; the roof is slate. Stripped back details beguilingly echo memories of the local vernacular. The character will evolve and soften
over decades. Windows are positioned, sized and proportioned to carefully frame views so that daylight washes the interior.

UPDATE: Mark Siddell explains all about the challenge of building this house at Passive House Secrets. Don't tell anyone.

More in the project brief here.

Tags: Awards | passive house


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