Design Awards 2010
'Tigh na Cladach'
Winner: Sustainability Award
Set against magnificent hillside woodland, the site occupies a sea front location in Dunoon that is extremely attractive and commands spectacular views of the Clyde across to Inverkip. It was sold to Fyne Initiatives by Argyll and Bute Council, on the basis that the purchaser would provide affordable housing to meet needs local community, as well as leasing the woodland and providing a small workshop that would accommodate activities of the Bullwood Group. This group provides education for local people with special needs as part of managing the woodland.
The client’s aims were to develop proposals that would facilitate the provision of affordable, good quality and low-energy designs of one, two and three bedroom family houses to be sold as ‘Homestake’ (shared equity). This scheme will allow first time buyers to purchase between 51-80% of the property, leaving the remaining ‘golden’ share within the ownership of Fyne Initiatives. Community participation took place at Park Hotel Dunoon in November 2007, when three design options of terraced and semi-detached houses were presented to seek local community reactions.
The overall design typology follows the traditional built form of fishing villages arrangement where gables are facing the sea in an effort to reduce weather exposure and prevailing winds. Although white render finish is the most common tradition, there are many examples in coastal areas where contrasting colours are used that add a strong sense of place and vitality. The massing arrangement creates a two storey ‘street of double gables’ with a gap between to accommodate south facing one-bed units with exclusive use of roof gardens.
In the spirit of Charlie Rennie Mackintosh, the design team sought to respond to local conditions, whilst at the same time ensuring that the output is being of our time by demonstrating key characteristics of good contemporary architecture. It is innovative and responds creatively to the demands of this waterfront site. A special effort was made to ensure that the architectural form and proportions were in harmony with the essence of Scottish vernacular architecture.
The scheme is the first in the UK to be officially accredited by the German Passive House Institute. It’s criteria demand that total energy use, including space heating and all the appliances and domestic hot water is less than 120 kWh/m2/ year. The heating requirement is reduced by means of passive measures to the point that there is no longer any need for a conventional heating system. The heating requirement for one of the house is 1,600 kWh/year, which is approximately a tenth of what an average house uses. A solar thermal system further reduces the energy bill for hot water by over 50%. In fact, it is the equivalent of using three car tanks of diesel to heat the house for a year.
It proves that sustainable and energy efficient design is possible on a social housing budget. Affordability was not achieved at the expense of architectural design or construction quality. Indeed, the design solutions we arrived at met the requirements of best practice in environmental sustainability.