Stackyard is a new-build two-storey rural house neighbouring a Grade II listed farmhouse on the edge of the village of Palgrave in Suffolk. Designed as a new home for a retiring couple it is a modern house with an exposed timber structure, maximum natural light, sustainable features.
The house takes its name from the agricultural enclosure typical to the area, which is used to store sheafs of corn. Located on the edge of the farmland the house opens up views to the north west and creates a space from which to enjoy the surrounding landscape.
The house sits within the ground, with an in-situ concrete base, timber frame and silvered timber cladding.
Its form takes inspiration from classical rectories that typically stand at the edge of villages, with a square plan and strong roofline.
Split levels negotiate the sloping site and the design departs from its classical predecessors in its use of an asymmetrical composition of windows, solar screens, and doorways, giving the elevations a less formal appearance.
Inside a generous entrance hall opens into a double height atrium leading into living quarters with high ceilings and deep timber beams demonstrating the primary timber frame structure.
Responding to the client’s brief for a space to observe nature, the upper bedroom sits half a floor higher than the parapet, with a projecting roof sheltering the room from summer sun, creating a cap to the building while reinforcing its position as both retreat and hide.
The property showcases hi-tech low energy design solutions in a contemporary vernacular scheme, allowing the owners to embrace a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle in a house which harmonises with its rural setting. Stackyard is designed to Passivhaus standards, incorporating high levels of insulation and an airtight envelope. Its compact form reduces energy loss and its orientation makes use of solar gain. Window sizes have been restricted with openings predominantly towards the south. Solar collectors on the roof provide hot water, and solar photovoltaic roofing is located on the garage roof, and rainwater collected for garden use.
Mole Architects was established by Meredith Bowles in 1996. It is a progressive and innovative award-winning architectural practice based in Cambridge.
In 2004 the practice was awarded the RIBA Manser Medal for Meredith’s own home, Black House in Cambridgeshire. To date the practice has won 14 RIBA Awards for Design and Sustainability.
Mole produces modern designs that are appropriate to their local context, combining traditional materials and techniques with a more contemporary attitude to design and building. The practice is a leader in sustainable building design. Projects such as Stackyard, Suffolk (2013) have been designed around Passivhaus principles. Earlier projects including Cavendish Avenue, Cambridge (2005) have been monitored post-occupation and proven to meet exacting Passivhaus standards.
Recent projects range from new studio and workshop facilities for University of Cambridge undergraduate architecture school (2008) and a social housing development for Broadland Housing in Norfolk (2013).
Mole also collaborates with other architects on large-scale projects. The practice is executive architect on Living Architecture, where they helped to deliver Balancing Barn with Dutch practice MVRDV and Dune House with Norwegian practice Jarmund Vigsnaes. Mole is currently working with Swiss architect and Pritzker Prize winner Peter Zumthor to deliver his first permanent UK building and Peter Salter on a development of four houses in Notting Hill, London.
Director Meredith Bowles was appointed Isaac Newton Design Fellow at The University of Cambridge in 2007.Location: Palgrave, Suffolk, UK Architect: Mole
Gross internal area: 234 sqm
Energy: Vokera Air source heat pump Underfloor heating
Passivhaus approved ILD woodburning stove
Solar PV Panels
Solar Hot water evacuated tubes Client: Jane & Ian Mclintock
Contractor: Willow Builders Ltd
Structural Engineers: JP Chick & Partners Ltd & Just Swiss
Quantity Surveyor: Sherriff Tiplady Associates Ltd
Timber Frame: Just Swiss Photography: David Butler