Build It & Structural Timber Awards 2016 Glosford Entry

Hillside Farm House, South Farnham

This new building replaced the original house Mr and Mrs Duffy
bought in June 2013 as a family home. Glosford were appointed the SIP provider using Kingspan TEK panel system and included internal partitions and engineered floors. For the client the main attraction of the property was its location. It is well-placed in South Farnham with long views over a valley and distant ridges looking south-east from the rear.  The new design is a sophisticated yet simple hybrid structure using the stability of a laminated oak frame and some masonry internal structure all working together with the stiffness and racking resistance of a SIP envelope.

In the words of the Architect Client the design of Hillside Farm House is the prototype of an off-site construction design to be known as the Hart House. Like the Huff House, which takes as its starting point the large overhanging roofs and black framed houses of Germany, the Hart House takes the traditional simple, scalable and repeatable form of the English black oak barn and transforms it into a pleasing contemporary design that’s able to embrace the best of twenty-first century technology. Framed buildings are essentially volumetric rather than cellular which allows huge scope for voids, floating staircases, bridges and vaulted spaces within. The form and materials used are in the spirit of those recommended by the Rowledge and Frensham village design statements including steep pitched roof with clay tile covering, reclaimed red bricks and pre-finished black Thermowood cladding – all of these materials were used in the existing house. The

overall look is more contemporary but is not wilful. The form of the new house flows from the original arrangement with a relatively private front and more open back. The other main drivers are that there is a general desire to allow the spaces to flow from the inside to outside, taking advantage of the magnificent view, whilst at the same time creating a highly sustainable design. The linear rectangular form is a simple echo of the neighbouring Hillside barn. The cladding materials, form and internal timber framing pick up this reference to traditional barns but not explicitly so. By tying the new laminated oak frame to new L-shaped masonry walls and encapsulating it with the SIP structure, we were able to take out all the racking forces in the frame.  This meant we could use traditional oak-pegged dove-tail and mortice & tenon joints in a contemporary laminated material. It feels both contemporary and traditional at the same time. It simply wouldn’t have been possible in solid oak, which splits unpredictably, making it difficult to support large areas of glass. Some of the best architecture of today has this strong sense of materiality and craft as an integral part of otherwise completely contemporary spaces. The speed of erection with SIP structures allows a great way to achieve a strong, air-tight and highly insulated building in one, simple step. It is particularly strong at the eaves and verges where traditional masonry buildings struggle to get a good air-tight seal.

Comments from the homeowner: “We were lucky to find the combination of Carpenter Oak, Simon Ballantine Engineers and Glosfords who were able to make the whole thing work together very efficiently, allowing it all to be erected on site in about three weeks – ready for cladding and windows. The game-changer for Architects using SIPs was the evolution in recent years from being something of a cottage industry to being backed and guaranteed by Kingspan, with their nationwide network of TEK approved delivery partners.  Given the onerous insulation and air-tightness requirements of the current building regulations it is hard to see how we can continue with blockwork inner leaves which only make a small contribution to the insulation requirements of the building fabric in proportion to their thickness. Any hidden holes and gap are notoriously hard to find and plug. A SIP inner leaf seems to us to be the only sensible primary wall structure for most houses.”

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