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A House in the Woods

Low Energy Houses

Dumfries & Galloway Council Design Awards 2023 – Award

This new house replaced an existing 1920s timber framed house which had been stripped out by a previous owner as part of an abandoned renovation project. The layout and orientation of the existing house meant that it did not make best use of the site’s qualities. 

The client brief called for a new, energy efficient home with abundant natural light, a whole house ventilation system to ensure good air quality at all times of the year and windows which make the most of views towards the south-west as well as framing views of the surrounding woodland. 

The woodland setting is reflected in the use of natural materials such as vertical board-on-board larch cladding, which is treated with a silicon based product to facilitate weathering, and stone cladding selected to resemble local whinstone. Modern materials and techniques such as standing seam roofing and high performance triple glazed windows are used alongside traditional methods such as drystone dyking which is used extensively in the landscaping around the house. 

The new house was sited and oriented in order to make the most of the views but also to help conceal the building from the road. The result is that the visitor is offered teasing glimpses of the house through the trees on approaching along the long driveway. 

Sustainability was an important consideration for the project. Heating is provided by an air source heat pump with a wood burning stove providing occasional ‘mood’ heating on winter evenings. A roof mounted photovoltaic array provides on site renewable generation. The house has an EPC rating of ‘A’ and its timber framed structure includes the use of engineered timber products such as glulam beams and I-joists which make efficient use of timber and help to reduce the carbon footprint of the project. 

Much of the contractor team comprised local tradespeople. The contractor worked hard to minimise disruption due to materials shortages during the pandemic, delivering a high quality building.

The design stages of this project were carried out by Graeme Ditchburn as project architect while employed at Simon Winstanley Architects. Graeme Ditchburn Architect was engaged under a separate appointment to oversee the tendering and construction stages. 

“This is a “tour-de-force” new private house…the panel were impressed by the attention to detail inside and out and the high standard of workmanship achieved.”

Judging Panel, Dumfries & Galloway Council Awards 2023

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