Unique 360 degree eco round house for Laughton

A Sussex architectural and planning consultant is celebrating after helping a couple to get agreement for a unique 360° eco house on a plot in Laughton, East Sussex.

Consultant Glenn Moore worked closely with Wealden District Council over many months to come up with the approved design which was inspired by some of the region’s earliest homes. It will be one of the first contemporary, round houses in the district.

He said: “People might think of a round house as being modern and unusual but circular homes date back to pre-historic times. In fact, round houses once prevailed in Great Britain as opposed to being square and rectangular. When we were developing the idea we looked at local buildings such as Celtic round houses and forts, defensive and warning structures like round towers, Martello towers, windmills, roundels, oast houses and water towers and the form began to take shape. The benefits of a round house are that it is an aerodynamic shape with no harsh lines, deflecting wind, providing shelter and performing at the highest level in terms of sustainability.”

Glenn went on to explain that the house will be as eco as possible: “The design embraces new technologies to reduce carbon emissions and incorporates renewable sources for heat and energy, as well as building materials.”

The house will be built of local, sustainable materials and the curved frame works with the elements to provide shelter and shade, but also takes advantage of light from all directions at different times of the year. It will have a dry moat which will act as a thermal buffer and restrict heat loss.

Clients Mr and Mrs Knapp said they wanted a sustainable home that respected the landscape and took advantage of natural light and views, using the circle to evoke a sense of being – a connection with the past as well as the future.

Mr Danny Knapp said: “We are thrilled with the design and that we can now proceed with building our dream home. It has been great working with an architect who is willing to push the boundaries to create something special. Glenn is also an expert in sustainable building and this was an important part of the brief.”

A key feature of the interior of the building is the spiral staircase acting as the central core and spine to the dwelling and filling it with light.  It was inspired by organic forms produced by nature and spirals of stairs within tall, round structures such as castle turrets.

The basic construction material and facing material will be timber which is available locally. High thermal insulation, double glazing with low emissions, plain clay tiles for the roof and rainwater harvesting have all been carefully chosen.  A ground-source heat pump has also been incorporated.

Work on the house has just started. It is expected to be finished in late 2011, early 2012.

GM Moore and Associates www.gmassociates.co.uk is based in Pevensey, East Sussex, and provides a range of design, planning and technical services that include extensions and refurbishments to period properties, conversion of barns and oasts and construction of new buildings using traditional methods and materials in new and innovative ways.