Oak Tree House, London – Projects
- Private Residential
Real sustainability starts from efficient design, minimising waste, re-use of existing structures (or foundations where retaining the superstructure is not practically viable) and the use of materials with low embodied energy. All of these aspects have been adopted in this design. Good sustainable design should be more economic. These two key drivers go hand in hand as opposed to ‘bolt on’ sustainability which inevitably costs more.
The project started as a refurbishment of the existing 1970’s traditional load bearing masonry and timber single storey building on the site. The proposals involved removing the original ceiling ties to open up the roof, creating many more window openings, door openings and roof lights, extending the building, as well as numerous internal alterations. We suggested demolishing the building down to ground floor slab level and build from new. Not the most sustainable option one might think. However, the existing foundations and ground floor slab were retained and re-used although a new ring beam was installed around the perimeter to allow point loads from the new timber frame to be distributed in to the existing foundations. This also had the benefit of reduced site excavations as well as limiting the disturbance to the large oak tree adjacent to the building. Not only does this make sense from a sustainability perspective it was economical too.