Goudhurst Eco House
Farrells design for Goudhurst eco house met the exceptional architectural quality and innovation criteria required by Paragraph 55 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), providing special circumstances for a new dwelling to be built in the countryside. There have been as few as 100 approvals since the “Country House” clause was created in 1997, and this is believed to be the first for an eco house. Located on the edge of the Kent village of Goudhurst, existing disused farm sheds on the site will be replaced by the proposed 5 bed family home. The low impact house is stepped and sunk into the sloping site, making it appear as single storey in views across the High Weald area, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This “buffer thinking” approach, first proposed by Farrells in the 1980’s, applies climate awareness and intelligent passive design rather than heavy handed technology. The design of the eco house not only reduces exposure to extreme heat losses, but also gains from wind and sun, creating interiors which are cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Goudhurst Eco House will be the first home to use low-carbon and zero-cement structural concrete from ground blast furnace slag in floors and retaining walls. Renewable energy will be supplied by biomass and photovoltaic solar panels. Water conservation and harvesting, water treatment with reed beds, locally sourced timber, brick and tiles, recycled earth and local stone in gabion garden walls all contribute to setting new standards for rural house construction.