Adaptive House
Marshall Wing Competition

Detached House Category - Silver Award

Conceived as a home for life, this future high performance, sustainable, fixed volume design is planned to support and adapt to the changing family needs placed upon a typical Cambridge home.

The fixed volume concept provides flexible living through its adaptable internal open planned spaces, approach to daylight and ventilation, internal planning and  innovative construction.

A super-insulated, airtight, laminated timber structure would be precision made off-site to create the primary solar responsive envelope. The building services, designed around a fixed volume and orientation, coupled with assisted ventilation and heat recovery with plumbing serviceability at each floor, ensures future building energy prediction and long-term performance to the occupier. Sustainable drainage and grey water storage serve each property.

The dwellings are spaced for daylight, passive winter heating and shade and can be aligned up to 25 degrees off an east west orientation. Adjacent dwellings are stepped in plan to create privacy and place between outdoor spaces. Tree planting and hedging is used to define street frontages and garden enclosure with passive solar shading to south facing facades.

Two connected volumes orientated east west, each based upon a square plan have a simple saddle roof. To prevent these imposing an overly traditional form of architecture, the structures have been made abstract where possible, such as wrapping the roof material down over the first floor facade. Appearing to resemble Dutch gambrel roofs (found locally in late medieval buildings), the gault clay tiles are replaced with metal shingles. The shingles create a reference to the sites association with aviation and the use of tile hanging found locally on 1950’s housing in Cambridge. A central circulation space oriented north south, perpendicular to the internal stair, visually relates neighboring dwellings while enabling internal staircase connectivity between ground and usable roof spaces.

Internal planned spaces surround an external south-facing courtyard, to take advantage of natural winter solar heating. Space functions are capable of plan adaptation. Internal atria enable spaces to be annexed to cater for live/work or later life access requirements.

Large solar adaptive openings reinforce the abstract modern character replacing the traditional bay window. Roof openings subvert the traditional dormer window. Chimneys service interior ventilation and heat recovery, while reflecting a local roof heritage and enhancing the woodland setting proposed to the northern site boundary.
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