Back to the 2024 Shortlist Individual Housing Development

Foxglove House

Sponsored by
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Park Farm 3


Location: Wigginton

Brick Manufacturer: HG Matthews

Brick Names: Mixture

Architect: Kirkland Fraser Moor

Brickwork Contractor: Ade McCrea & Chris Edwards

About the project

Clients, Debbie & Martin Meech had a desire to create a new low-carbon, modern home that blended with the local vernacular, whilst utilising modern, renewable-energy technology and enhancing the surrounding landscape.

Kirkland Fraser Moor developed the design of Foxglove House from a response to natural and cultural forces, whilst keeping the ‘triple bottom line’ of sustainability; social, economic & ecological sustainability central in their thinking. A low-profile courtyard typology ‘evolved’, which:

• provides a timeless, almost elemental, identity within the rural landscape in a similar manner to historic walled gardens
• provides private external amenity as well as screening of domestic paraphernalia from public views outside
• provides high levels of daylight for internal spaces and increases opportunities for passive solar gain

The choice of materials gave good opportunity to strengthen the social and economic qualities of the proposal. KFM worked with local brick-makers, HG Matthews, to propose using end-of-line bricks in the external walls. The walls are dotted with bird and bat boxes, in a deliberate drive to not just mitigate impact on biodiversity but enhance it. Using local building products not only reduces the building’s carbon footprint but also gives the building a ‘grain’ that works with the local Chiltern vernacular.

The input from local bricklayers was invaluable to delivering the finished walls that bring so much delight. KFM worked on three 1:1 prototypes with three bricklayers to develop a knowledge and understanding between team members, so that sufficient autonomy could be given to the craftsman to react and create with the materials that arrived.
The brick will continue to look good for many generations. The materials are low maintenance requiring minor but regular low skill maintenance ensuring a design that is visually pleasing, long lasting and requires ongoing support from local skills.

The primary structure is CLT, with both internal & external load-bearing walls and a diagrid roof structure placed on top of these. Internal wall finishes are clay, applied onto cork insulation, which allow the building to breathe, attenuate acoustics and help regulate humidity and temperature. Low-processed, natural materials such as these allow for easy demolition and biodegradable waste management.

Foxglove House is designed to be highly energy-efficient, standing as an exemplar in the area. The building fabric is designed to meet Passivhaus thermal performance levels and glazing is treated to optimise passive solar gain. A suite of renewable technology is installed including decentralised MVHR, ground-source heating and a considerable array of photovoltaic panels.

Foxglove House is an expression of its context, formal requirement and environmental performance - it is an isolated new house that has an ‘evolved’ form - a unique piece of rural architecture that is harmoniously in balance with its surrounding landscape and ecology. In the true spirit of the NPPF Paragraph 79e vision, the building is a sculptural contemporary form that is rooted in tradition, sympathetically merging into and out of the land. It continues and enhances the strong regional vernacular tradition without resorting to pastiche.

Sponsored by Brick Awards

Brick Awards White

The Annual Brick Awards is an Architectural competition aimed at attracting and showcasing architects wishing to submit their brick projects for recognition and celebration. Attracting 300 entries in 17 hotly contested categories every year, it has become one of the most popular events in the construction calendar. If you wish to sponsor this award, please contact George Spreckley