Wilson McMullen Architects, Portrush, Portstewart, Coleraine, County Antrim

Ritchie House, Passive House, County Antrim

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This is a scheme for a spacious 5 bedroom Family Home in County Antrim. It is to be designed to Passive House standards incorporating a super-insulated timber frame structure, triple-glazed passive house windows, renewable technologies such as solar panels, photovoltaics etc. The building will incorporate very high levels of air-tightness and aims to achieve Code level 6 and be a “net-zero carbon” home.

The site has good views looking southward and has several mature trees that the client wished to in some way engage with. The client is very interested in conserving energy and creating an energy efficient and sustainable home for a growing family.

The design concept is to firstly create a house that opens up to the south, maximising views and passive solar gain to the majority of the rooms and closing down to the North conserving heat loss. The house design wraps around one of the mature trees on the site in a gentle curve, making it a focus and also acting to filter the south light into the house. All the main living areas face southward and open out via large sliding doors or a continuous length of sliding / folding doors, onto a curved terrace that wraps around and engages with the mature tree.

The house is also partially buried in the earth to again reduce heat loss and also help the building blend into the site and countryside beyond. It uses natural stonework to the Ground floor with Cedar Cladding to the first floor.

It is a design that is of its time and its place creating an exciting, sustainable and enjoyable home to live in.