In 2009, Cedar Rydal purchased a plot with a single dilapidated bungalow and applied for planning permission for three, four bed terraced houses of approximately 1,500 sq ft each. Planning permission was granted in July 2009 and construction began in September. Because the houses are built into the side of the hill to reduce their bulk and massing, we piled the foundations and constructed the tanked masonry basement off a ‘house-deck’ insulated ground floor slab.
The walls were constructed using traditional masonry and high levels of insulation. Whilst each house has been fitted with a condensing gas boiler, their ecological credentials have been bolstered by adding solar thermal hot water heating and 5kW wood burning stoves to top up the heat and provide an attractive focus to the living rooms in winter. Because the houses face almost due south, we took the opportunity to incorporate large sliding folding doors onto the ground floor balcony, not only providing the option of enlarging the living area, but also admitting low level winter sun and thereby increasing passive solar gain. Overheating of these large glazed areas is avoided by incorporating a 1.2m deep porch overhang. To complement their semi-rural setting, the houses were designed to embed themselves into the landscape, and for this reason we adopted a ‘green roof’ at first floor level, also ensuring a pleasant outlook for the occupants of the master bedroom on the top floor.