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Eco-House in East Sussex, southeast England, UK – design by DRP Architects

9 Jun 2008

Brighton Property

DRP Architects Completes Award-Winning Eco-House on Challenging Central Brighton ‘Brown Field’ Site

On 28 June, 2007, an award-winning new eco-house at Whichelo Place, Hanover, Brighton, designed by local firm DRP Architects, will be handed over to the client.

Eco House Brighton house
photos © Richard Rowland

In the £200k project, the respected Brighton firm of architects has designed a two bedroom timber framed house that exceeds the Building Research Establishment (BRE) ‘excellent’ rating in energy saving and carbon reduction. In view of its exemplary ‘green’ features, the house has already won a ‘Green Apple Silver Award’ in the ‘National New Build Residential’ category, June 2007.

In the project, which started in summer 2006, DRP has used a whole range of eco technologies and materials – including passive solar gain, a green roof, locally sourced sweet chestnut cladding, lime based render, solar hot water heating, grey water recycling and sheep’s wool insulation. The result is a scheme that reduces carbon emission by approximately 17% when compared to Building Regulations has around 33% less water consumption compared with a typical home.

DRP is never shy of a challenge and the Whichelo Place site certainly provided one; with a triangular piece of ‘brown field’ leftover ground sloping between two streets of terraced housing in Brighton’s popular Hanover area. Clever thinking was required to design a house that would fulfil the client’s brief and also achieve planning permission – which meant that the new build must be no higher than the surrounding garden fences. Instead of looking down on to unattractive waste land, neighbours now cast their eye over eco-friendly grassed roofs.

The house is designed with the orientation of the sun in mind to make the most of solar energy, and site is enclosed by two terraces that create a building with two clear axes. Each axis has a different function: the living spaces are deployed in the north/south axis, while the bedroom, utility room, entrance space and storage are in the east/west axis. The ‘spare’ areas between the building and its boundary form small, intimate outside spaces for the living room and bedrooms, making intelligent use of the triangular site without any wastage.

The living space is the highest part of the house and features a large, sliding roof light and sliding, folding doors which make the space especially light and airy. The bedroom wing houses the bathroom and a ‘study corridor’, designed for sitting with a book from the built-in library. The house also features a utility room and second bathroom adjacent to the main entrance. It has gated entry from the street, a car parking space, provision for wheelchair access and a cycle store – also with a green roof.

Simon Atkins, the DRP director responsible for the Wichelo Place project, comments: “Our client is as keen on sustainable architecture as we are. This drove the layout of the scheme and selection of materials from the start. The result is a fine balancing act that optimises all available space at the site while simultaneously meeting the needs of the client, local residents and Brighton & Hove Council’s planning department. If more new houses like this one were built, Brighton and Hove would seriously reduce its carbon footprint while the population would enjoy lower energy bills.”

Brighton Eco-House – Building Information

Award: ‘Green Apple Silver Award’ in ‘National New Build Residential’ category, 2007
Design commenced: Jul 2005
Planning permission achieved: 20 Mar 2006
Project commenced: Aug 2006
Completion date: 28 Jun 2007
Contract sum: £200,000
Architect: DRP Architects
Structural engineer: Ings Engineering
Services engineer: John Packer Associates
Planning consultant: Lewis & Co Planning SE Ltd
Eco homes consultant: Bespoke Building Services Ltd
Main contractor: Chalmers & Co
Eco Technologies: solar water heating; grey water recycling; water permeable paving Materials: Sedum roof; locally sourced untreated sweet chestnut cladding; lime based render; locally sourced bricks with lime mortar; composite (powder coated aluminium and timber) windows; sheep’s wool insulation.
Other materials include recycled plastic damp proof membranes, zero formaldehyde mdf boards, compressed wood fibre sheathing boards, galvanised steel rainwater pipes and gutters, and recycled glass aggregate worktop.

Sussex Eco House images / information from DRP Architects


Sussex Buildings

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drp architects ltd based in Brighton, Sussex

About DRP Architects
DRP Architects is an award-wining architectural practice formed in 1983 that became a limited company in July 2006. Based at Lewes Road, Brighton, the company has six directors who work as a team to produce high-quality, sustainable architecture. DRP has a strong local and community presence, having achieved Community Mark and Investors in People awards in recent years. DRP was one of the first architectural practices in the Southeast to achieve ISO 9001 accreditation. In March 2007, it launched DRP Consulting to deal with construction design & management (CDM) and party wall matters. Recent awards include: Green Apple Award 2007; Sussex Heritage Trust Awards 1998, 2004, 2005 and 2006; Worthing Borough Council Awards 2003 and 2005.

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