Black House Cambridgeshire, Prickwillow Home, English Property Design, Building Image

Black House, Prickwillow

Contemporary Residential Building near Cambridge, southeast England design by Mole Architects

post updated 15 September 2021 ; 11 Mar 2008

Location: Kingdon Avenue, Prickwillow, Cambridgeshire, England, UK

Date built: 2003

Design: Mole Architects

Black House Cambridge: Prickwillow Property
picture from architects studio

Black House Prickwillow

Black House sits overlooking the reclaimed land of The Fens. It sits high in the landscape, taking as a model the barns and houses that roll out over the flat land, scattering the landscape like dice.

The house is clad in standard cement fibre Eternit corrugated cladding, ubiquitous in the area, painted black. This is set against stained Danish softwood windows, larger on the Field (West side) with minimal glazing to the North.

The plan of the house is long and thin, with windows lining up at front and back to give rooms lit from both sides and a sense of this Prickwillow house being see-through. At the heart of the house on the ground floor is the kitchen/dining room; circulation on the ground floor takes place through this room. Vertically, a glazed stairway allows views through all three storeys.

The whole house is raised off the ground on brick clad concrete piers; the piers are extensions of the piles below. The horizontal restraint of the piles is carried in a glulam beam sat on the piers and bolted down to the pile caps with high tensile steel rods, dispensing with the need for cast concrete beams in the ground.

Black House Prickwillow Black House Cambridgeshire Prickwillow Property Prickwillow House
pictures from architects

The main structure is prefabricated timber panels, using engineered timber studs and recycled newspaper insulation. This also allows the simple roof construction and the attic bedroom floor. The lightweight structure also meant that the number of piles in the foundations could be reduced. The walls are 200mm thick and the floor and roof are 250mm thick.The windows are double glazed with argon filled cavities, and a low-emissivity coating on the glass.

The primary source of heat is via a heat pump, which supplies the hot water and warmed fresh air. The air extracts in the bathrooms and kitchen, and the fresh air valves are in the ceilings. The extract air passes through a cross- current heat exchanger to extract the energy and transfer it to the incoming fresh air, which is then further heated by the heat pump.

External sunscreens above the large ground floor windows cut out overhead mid afternoon sun in the summer. The first floor windows have a reflective coating on the outside of the glass, and the rooflights are fitted with external sunscreens as well as internal blinds.

House in Prickwillow images / information from Mole Architects

Black House design : Mole Architects

Location: Prickwillow, Cambridgeshire, south east England, United Kingdom

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