50's Retrofit
Wingate Way, Cambridge
Existing detached houses have the highest annual space heating demand, when compared with semi-detached, mid-terraces or flatted developments, according to recent energy modelling research by Cambridge Retrofit. In remodelling and modernising a 1950s detached family home in Cambridge, we took a holistic approach to meet the requirements of modern living whilst achieving improved energy performance.
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What we suggested
Our first task was to understand how the family wanted to use the house and garden. Our attention then turned towards an analysis of the site through the seasons and what physical changes might benefit the buildings use. We concluded that the best way to improve internal space, upgrade energy performance and make best use of the site within the budget, was to focus attention on positive aspects of the house and rework the negative parts, such as the restrictive room distribution around the staircase.
Working with the structural fabric of the house the design proposed wrapping a new high performance envelop, containing the serviced elements of the new layout, around the shaded sides of the house. The new parts were made two storey for economy of foundations, but would also dilute the external surface area of the house compared with the new improved and larger usable floor area.

Making the relative size of the house more compact would make it more energy efficient. Proposed high performance windows and doors, centralised heating and services make more effective use of energy. Add to that better internal and external use of space, storage and flexibility and this 50s retrofit would compete with the best new equivalent home.
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