Kent architecture

The Kent house combines low-carbon design with traditional craftsmanship

The Kent House combines ultra-low energy consumption with traditional craftsmanship

BakerBrown Studio’s new home in the south of England sets high standards for low energy consumption

BakerBrown Studio has earned a reputation for sustainable architecture, having spent decades working on low-energy building solutions. These range from reducing emissions during construction to designing interiors that maximize energy efficiency. This new Kent house design in the village of Offham is a good example. The house combines locally sourced materials with an emphasis on passive solar heating and chimney ventilation.

The largely single storey property is aligned to make the most of solar gains, as well as views of the surrounding countryside. The spatial layout incorporates several shaded courtyards and terraces that give the impression of rooms bleeding into the landscape. As it should be, the raw materials for the facades come from the surrounding fields.

Flint stones were dug up to form the revetment, set in place with traditional raked mortar, using an experienced local contractor (The Flintman Company).

The meticulous process has ensured the corners and edges of the structure look clean and refined to emphasize the solidity of the house. Charred British Larch was used to clad the other exterior walls.

Inside, the living and sleeping areas are connected by a home office. A large sliding ash door closes the private elements of the house, including the only room upstairs, the master bedroom.

From here there are views over fields and woods, with a bay window seat positioned to make the most of the scenery.

Passive heating and cooling makes little sense unless the structure is highly insulated. The Offham House uses a timber frame, filled with insulation, along with chimney ventilation to draw air through the structure.

Designed according to Passivhaus principles, the new structure features photovoltaic cells, an air-source heat pump and a pioneering “solar thermal” driveway, which incorporates heating loops to help bolster the water supply warmth of the house during the summer months. The end result is a building that is carbon negative when in operation.

BakerBrown, which was founded in 1994, has extensive experience in low energy design, including the construction of the first ever A* listed building in the UK and a project called The Waste House, billed as the first building in the world made of garbage.

Offham’s house continues this admirable record of low-energy design, proving that refined design and innovation are fully compatible with sustainable architecture. §