"This project is a seductively simple rural self-build Passivhaus dwelling utilising an innovative pre-fabricated straw/timber system. The small single-storey family home has a pitched roof, south facing verandah and charred timber cladding which gives a nod to the local Herefordshire agri-vernacular.
The project is the first UK application of the Ecococon timber/straw prefabricated panel system, a Passivhaus certified component which has been independently verified. The prefabrication method allowed for rapid and accurate construction, for example external walls were erected in three days and the house was water tight in four weeks."
Juraj Mikurcik, architect
Project location: Little Birch, Herefordshire
Building completion date: October 2017
Building size: 99m2 GIFA
Construction type: Ecococontimber/ straw panels, timber I-beam roof with recycled cellulose insulation, insulated concrete slab
Building use: Residential
Architect/designer: Juraj Mikurcik
Contractor: Mike Whitfield Construction Ltd
Consultants: Alan Clarke, Nick Grant (energy consultants)
Health & well-being
Project highlight: The judges were impressed with the combination of extremely high fabric efficiency (Passivhaus certification) achieved through the use of a range of low-impact, natural materials to create a comfortable, healthy environment.
The external walls are a combination of timber and straw with additional woodfibre insulation and locally sourced cedar used as external rainscreen cladding. Natural clay plasters are used throughout the interior, applied either directly to straw externally or to dense plasterboard on internal partitions, adding thermal mass and helping to moderate humidity and acoustics in the house.