Winner of the 2015 West Lancashire Design Awards for Residential and for Sustainability.
Sited within 4 acres of land on the green belt of Ormskirk in West Lancashire, Narrow Lane Farmhouse is a new build replacement dwelling farmhouse conceived for a growing family. Maintaining a farmhouse vernacular in terms of form and in keeping with the historical clustering of farm buildings in the area; the design is a contemporary interpretation of the farm house.
The former cottage was in a poor state and was located dangerously close to the T-junction of the curving Cut Lane and a replacement dwelling was proposed to adjust the shape of the residential curtilage to accommodate a safer driveway and setback from the road.
A series of courtyards and water bodies break up the overall massing; allowing a transitional space between areas. The basic layout hugs the site; giving rise to a secure central courtyard that is flanked by two wings. Entry to the house is transitioned via a full glazed view of a sunken swimming pool looking out onto the expansive view of the cornfields, surrounding hills and countryside. A linear koi pond helps to complete the delineation of the central courtyard; whilst affording the comforting sound of the moving waterfall during the night. The material palette of the envelope is kept earthy; a combination of stone, insulated render, IPE timber slats and glass. The house is kept ‘silent’ on the façade facing the sweeping curve of the road – turning its back – while the house opens out with large expanse of glazing on the south-eastern direction of farmland. The interiors of the house is characterised by dramatic double volume spaces with a sky-bridge linking one wing to the next.
The project prides itself on exploiting a vast number of sustainable measures in the new build.
A ground source heat pump, low e argon-filled double-glazing, SUDS for rain and grey water and walkable photo-voltaic panels are incorporated along with utilising air-tight SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels) as the main construction method. The incredibly air-tight SIP panels were pre-fabricated off site in Ireland and assembled on site over a few weeks to be included in the main structural frames of the building. A mechanical ventilation heat-recovery system is also integrated to reduce heat loss, while an external blinds system helps to reduce any excess solar gain. About two thirds of the land is dug down to accommodate the ground source loops and the heat generated helps to run the heated swimming pool through out the year.
The swimming pool is both a visual and physiological focus for the family – the children look forward to jumping into the pool when they get home from school every day and it is incredibly well used and loved.
The rest of the farmland within the site is consciously retained as a working farm, with a local farmer working the fields throughout the crop cycles while the farmhouse itself accommodates the lives of the family, giving rise to a healthy and sustainable co-existence. The project is imagined as a contemporary eco-farmhouse with working farmland retaining the historical clustering of the farm buildings within the green belt.
The project was published in The Idealist in August 2017:The Idealist – Narrow Lane Farmhouse