14 July 2011

Passivhaus Environment Centre Starts on Site!

The timber piles are almost complete on site, ready to take the timber frame for the building. The low-impact timber pile foundations will support the 300 sqm building in the centre of the regenerated Lordship Recreation Ground. The timber foundations remove the need to use CO2 intensive concrete foundations in the middle of this valuable green space with the London Borough of Haringey.  

The Environment Centre has been designed by Anne Thorne Architects to exemplary sustainable standards, with the local community involved through all stages of the design process. The building is to act as a sustainable learning tool in both it's construction, it's operation, and the future activities that will take place under it's green roof once the building is complete.

The most exciting aspects of this project is the straw bale wall construction. Supported on low impact timber pile foundations, as well as locking CO2 emissions into the very fabric of the building.

The external straw-bale walls are non-load-bearing in this building. Douglas Fir timber columns support the green roof above, and the building design maximises natural light, and is constructed with a tactile palette of natural materials, that include clay plasters ,unfired earth blocks, FSC  timber and robust stone gabions. Raised above the green roof, a robust Photovoltaic roofing film will power lights and services, as well as  continuing the line of the historic hedgerow below, guiding  local bats to the lake at dusk.

The Environment Centre has also been designed to Passivhaus standards in order minimise the  energy use and  CO2 emissions the building in operation, as well as dramatically reducing the running costs of the building. Passivhaus requires very high levels of air-tightness in construction, low U-values, triple-glazed windows; in the winter, this super-insulated and air-tight  building provides a welcoming and draught-free meeting place, with minimal heating required.

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