Modece Architects design principles

Sustainability in architecture is all about:

  • healthy buildings which are free from toxic emissions

  • airtight buildings which keep unwanted draughts out

  • superinsulation which keeps the building warm

  • breathable construction using natural materials which allows moisture to pass through the building fabric

  • solar shading using louvres and plants to reduce summer overheating

  • minimising water use by fitting low water demand appliances and taps

  • sourcing materials locally wherever possible

  • natural and renewable energy like wood for heating, and wind and sun for electricity generation

  • rainwater capture for use in the building (washing machines and wcs) and to irrigate gardens

  • reed beds to treat sewage on site

  • re-using buildings wherever possible to avoid waste

  • designing buildings so that they are easy to deconstruct using minimal energy and creating as little waste as possible

Clayhill Farm active systems and materials exploded diagram

Clayhill Farm active systems and materials exploded diagram

Modece wins 'greenest building' award

We are proud to announce that we have won the 'Greenest Building' award for The Woodshed at the Suffolk - Creating the Greenest County Awards.

Recent changes in government legislation have made it possible to convert agricultural buildings to dwellings and ‘The Woodshed’ is one of the first in Babergh to be completed, and probably the first to be a zero carbon conversion.  It shows how very low energy buildings can be achieved – a real trailblazer.  - judges comments -

Now in their ninth year, the Creating the Greenest County Awards are an annual event that highlight the excellent environmental achievements that are being carried out across the county. Communities, businesses, schools and individuals, from protecting our natural landscape to developing innovative ways to reduce carbon emissions, everyone is doing their bit to help make Suffolk the greenest county.

 

An Architecture Inspired by Hemp

Director of Modece Architects Ltd, Matthew Bell, delivered a lecture to the Franco-British Union of Architects (FBUA) at their annual meeting, this year held in Plymouth, UK. The lecture explored the results of a three month study into the affect of the construction material hemp-lime on the design of buildings in France through history.

The study revealed that the material has altered the method of construction and some technical details but has had little affect on architectural design. The report raises questions to whether hemp-lime is being used to its greatest potential or if it currently limited to the constraints of traditional construction methods that support and frame it. 

Sustainability in architecture is all about:

healthy buildings which are free from toxic emissions

airtight buildings which keep unwanted draughts out

superinsulation which keeps the building warm

breathable construction using natural materials which allows moisture to pass through the building fabric

solar shading using louvres and plants to reduce summer overheating

minimising water use by fitting low water demand appliances and taps

sourcing materials locally wherever possible

natural and renewable energy like wood for heating, and wind and sun for electricity generation

rainwater capture for use in the building (washing machines and wcs) and to irrigate gardens

reed beds to treat sewage on site

re-using buildings wherever possible to avoid waste

designing buildings so that they are easy to deconstruct using minimal energy and creating as little waste as possible

Clayhill Farm energy ratings are nearly off the chart!

We are somewhat taken aback by the design stage energy efficiency rating and environmental impact rating that we have achieved for Clayhill Farm eco dwelling in Lavenham. By using super-insulative natural materials such as hemp, sheeps wool and wood fibre we have created a highly efficient building envelope that doesn't cost the earth. Hempcrete is cast into an inner studwork leaf to provide thermal mass to the internal spaces. An outer studwork leaf is filled with sheep wool and then the whole wall is wrapped with wood fibre board to ensure no cold bridging.

Planning approval for eco dwelling under NPPF55

In exceptional circumstances, planning permission may be granted for houses in the open countryside under clause 55 of the National Planning Policy Framework, formerly known as PPS7 Houses.

The criteria to meet these standards are very onerous. Clause 55 states that a new dwelling in the countryside will only be allowed under special circumstances, namely where the design is of exceptional quality or innovative, thereby helping to raise standards of design more generally in rural areas;  reflect the highest standards in architecture;  significantly enhance its immediate setting; and  be sensitive to the defining characteristics of the local area.

We have just obtained planning consent after appeal for a house near Lavenham under this clause. It is one of the first houses in England to be granted approval under clause 55.