Margam Project

Ty Unnos Low Energy House, Ebbw Vale

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The house develops DRU-w's third placed 'Welsh Passivhaus' competition entry into a low energy visitor centre for The Works' Passivhaus case study houses, to be retrofitted as a two bed house following the Eisteddfod Festval. The house is designed towards passivhaus standards but demonstrates locally available systems and materials rather than importing from central Europe. The design draws its inspiration from the local context of Ebbw Vale and the wider context of Wales, making it an ideal model of economic, social and environmental sustainable housing for The Works site. The house design draws on several key ideas:

The Longhouse: The design of the house is a re-interpretation of the traditional Welsh longhouse vernacular for the 21st century. A linear access route runs along the southern edge of the site, giving access to the longhouse and garden. The linear house looks south across its garden to the hills beyond, while the first floor offers views up and down the valley to north and south. A restrained but elegant palette of vertical timber cladding, white render and standing seam roof are used to develop a contemporary interpretation of traditional vernacular buildings.

Colour and composition: The addition of colour to a terraced house is a common way of personalising Welsh Valleys housing. The house uses colour to add personalisation, in this case coloured panels on the elevations of the dwelling.

Ty Unnos: Ty Unnos is a Welsh tradition of building ‘a house in one night’. This tradition has been developed as a construction system using local expertise to use low value local softwoods for sustainable housing. The Welsh tradition of Ty Unnos is fitting for the Ebbw Vale area, as several 20th century Ty Unnos houses exist around the Vale. The design of the house has been driven by an understanding of the constraints and opportunities Ty Unnos offers. The system is perfectly suited to a simple longhouse form, allowing an optimum configuration of Sitka Spruce frames to create a linear ‘tube’.

Client : Blaenau Gwent CBC
Main Contractor: G Adams
Value : £250k
Programme: 2009-2010

dru-w dru-wdru-w
Design Research Unit w
Bute Building
King Edward VII Ave
Tel: 02920 874430
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