We have recently completed a pre-planning consultation and analysis for a new contemporary off-grid home in rural Warwickshire, working closely with architects Blee Halligan to optimise the design and increase the energy efficiency to Passivhaus standards.
By balancing the heat gains and losses through the glazing we were able to maintain substantial views across the neighbouring farmland while keeping the high levels of internal comfort that comes with Passivhaus.
As measures to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic continue and intensify, Mountain Fold is well placed to remain fully operational, and how we work will be largely unchanged. From the start we’ve had systems set up for flexible, remote working, allowing teams to be spread out across the UK and further afield. Conversations and meetings are preferably had in person, but otherwise take place on Slack or Skype. Files are shared over Dropbox. When sitting around poking a physical model isn’t possible, screens are shared and a 3D model reviewed. 3D PDF files have helped clarify and explain any trickier construction details, and for the past few months we’ve also been trialling the use of interactive 3D models, allowing users to get a better impression of the flow between spaces.
My priority is the safety and wellbeing of clients and those I work with. The current government advice is to avoid unnecessary contact and so for the time being I’ll be limiting the number of physical meetings where possible. All non-essential meetings will be conducted via Zoom, Skype, FaceTime or even simpler over the phone. I’m sure you understand, but please do bear with me.
There are difficult times ahead, but I remain committed to helping Mountain Fold’s clients as best I can.
Stay healthy, wash your hands, and try to support your local
We are pleased to announce that Mountain Fold is now an RIBA Chartered Practice!
RIBA Chartered Practices are required to meet strict criteria to demonstrate their commitment to the highest standards of professionalism, best practice and ethics, and provides a quality assurance to clients and the construction industry as a whole.
“For everyone working in the construction industry, meeting the needs of our society without breaching the earth’s ecological boundaries will demand a paradigm shift in our behaviour.”
We at Mountain Fold have added our signature to an open letter declaring a climate and biodiversity emergency, making a commitment to positive action in response. The letter was initiated by 17 previous Stirling Prize winners, including Matt’s former employer Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios.
“The twin crises of climate breakdown and biodiversity loss are the most serious issue of our time. Buildings and construction play a major part, accounting for nearly 40% of energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions whilst also having a significant impact on our natural habitats.
For everyone working in the construction industry, meeting the needs of our society without breaching the earth’s ecological boundaries will demand a paradigm shift in our behaviour. Together with our clients, we will need to commission and design buildings, cities and infrastructures as indivisible components of a larger, constantly regenerating and self-sustaining system.
The research and technology exist for us to begin that transformation now, but what has been lacking is collective will. Recognising this, we are committing to strengthen our working practices to create architecture and urbanism that has a more positive impact on the world around us.
We will seek to:
Raise awareness of the climate and biodiversity emergencies and the urgent need for action amongst our clients and supply chains.
Advocate for faster change in our industry towards regenerative design practices and a higher Governmental funding priority to support this.
Establish climate and biodiversity mitigation principles as the key measure of our industry’s success: demonstrated through awards, prizes and listings.
Share knowledge and research to that end on an open source basis.
Evaluate all new projects against the aspiration to contribute positively to mitigating climate breakdown, and encourage our clients to adopt this approach.
Upgrade existing buildings for extended use as a more carbon efficient alternative to demolition and new build whenever there is a viable choice.
Include life cycle costing, whole life carbon modelling and post occupancy evaluation as part of our basic scope of work, to reduce both embodied and operational resource use.
Adopt more regenerative design principles in our studios, with the aim of designing architecture and urbanism that goes beyond the standard of net zero carbon in use.
Collaborate with engineers, contractors and clients to further reduce construction waste.
Accelerate the shift to low embodied carbon materials in all our work.
Minimise wasteful use of resources in architecture and urban planning, both in quantum and in detail.
We hope that every UK architectural practice will join us in making this commitment. To do this, please go to www.architectsdeclare.com
Planning permission has been granted for this remodelling of and extension to a 1980s dormer bungalow in Pembury, near Tunbridge Wells in Kent. The design features a new open plan living, dining and cooking space with additional and extended bedrooms, partly clad in timber. Construction is due to start later this year.
We are pleased to announce Matt is now a Certified Passivhaus Designer, having passed the exam at the University of Bath earlier this year. Passivhaus is a rigorous design and construction methodology providing a high level of comfort with extremely high levels of energy efficiency, and we are excited to be able to provide this service.
We will provide more information on the website soon. In the meantime, please get in touch if you are interested in Passivhaus and how we can help you dramatically reduce heating and cooling loads.
Our competition entry for a marker to a nuclear waste isolation pilot plant in New Mexico made its way through to the final. Drawing on the works of land artists such as Robert Smithson and Michael Heizer, we proposed concentric rings of basalt on which sit ninety-four salt and sandstone pillars, varying in height from the outer ring to the innermost, positioned so that in plan they reflect the electrons in the atomic structure of plutonium-239. Inside these rings is a final marker constructed by ninety-four basalt monoliths over-clad on the outer face with the salt-rock composite. The inner faces contain warnings in multiple languages and symbols about what lies beneath.
The pillars and wall are a monumental clock; the salt-rock composite weathers away over a period of 10,000 years. The change in height between each ring means the weathering is progressive – the outer ring will weather away in 900 years, the penultimate ring 7,500 years and the inner wall will last for the full 10,000 year timeline. When it has all weathered away the basalt rings and monoliths will be left behind as a reminder.