The Plow House demonstrates what can be achieved with existing housing, on a tight site with compromised solar access, by thinking outside the square.
This was a renovation to a cute Queen Anne style brick cottage which suffered from poor solar access due to a northern neighbour close to the fence line. A series of asbestos lean-to's also limited the house's connection with its rear yard. The Owners were a young couple who were after more room, and a warm house, but being keen gardeners on a tight site, were not eager to greatly increase the existing footprint.
A tall northern wall and inventive re-interpretation of the period roof angle was the solution, serving to capture sunlight over the neighbour’s roofline, whilst also providing screening for the new roof deck. By building into the existing roof space and maximising every nook, space was doubled with minimal increase in overall footprint. Existing double brick walls were not demolished at the rear, but internalised for their mass and made a feature.
Where the existing rear structure with its multiple lean-to additions had closed off the backyard, the design response did the opposite, opening views to the backyard, and skyward to the clouds, through the double height northern clerestory wall. Polished eco-concrete, timber double-glazed windows and external retractable venetian blinds all add to the performance of this extension.
Download the factsheet for the environmental features of the house.
More about Plow house was also written up in this Sanctuary Magazine Vol. 13 Article, "A New Lease on Light".
2010 BPN Sustainability Highly Commended Award of Alteration & Addition single dwelling
photo credit : Rhiannon Slatter and Positive Footprints