Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Progress on-site for more Council homes in the South West

Work on two social housing schemes is progressing well on-site and the next generation of council-owned homes are being realised for two Local Authorities in the South West.

Work commenced in September on 26 new flats in adjacent to Rennes Tower, Pinhoe, Exeter which signify the latest and largest housing development that Gale & Snowden Architects has undertaken with Exeter City Council (ECC).  The Passivhaus scheme, incorporating Building Biology principles, marks almost ten years of teamwork, delivering low energy, healthy homes for Council tenants. The design represents the latest step in Gale & Snowden’s evolutionary approach to Passivhaus aimed at reducing costs, simplifying and speeding up construction, enhancing collaboration with the contractor, and optimising building performance for future climate scenarios.

The four-storey development on Vaughan Road is being built by CG Fry with whom G&S worked on Reed Walk and Bevan House, two previous ECC housing schemes which were completed in 2015 and 2013 respectively.  Once complete, it will take the tally of G&S Passivhaus social housing units in Exeter over the 100 mark!

Aerial image courtesy of Beton Bauen Limited

26 Passivhaus flats for Exeter City Council
Gale & Snowden Architects Ltd.


Meanwhile, up the M5, five sites in Lawrence Weston, Bristol are being developed with Bristol City Council.  As part of the second wave of Bristol’s New Build Council House programme, the scheme takes previously undeveloped, council-owned sites and provides a mix of family houses and bungalows of various sizes to meet local demand.

Using a simple palette of robust materials, the design and detailing is common throughout the units to create a contemporary take on the local vernacular and provide a cohesive aesthetic between the sites.  

Passivhaus terraced housing for Bristol City Council
Gale & Snowden Architects Ltd.

Passivhaus terraced housing for Bristol City Council
Gale & Snowden Architects Ltd.

Building on Gale & Snowden's previous experience with Passivhaus, both of these projects for Exeter and Bristol City Councils explore an alternative construction methodology based around monolithic clay external walls.  These large format blocks and thin bed mortar system allow for increased speed of construction and, once the homes are finished, the hygroscopic properties of the clay blocks buffer and moderate humidity levels providing a stable, healthy internal environment.

Both schemes are due for completion in 2017.  Please follow us on Twitter for site progress updates.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Gale & Snowden at the IBN Building Biology Consultants Conference

Last week, Gale & Snowden Architects were lucky enough to be invited to the IBN Building Biology Consultants Conference, held at Verden, Germany. 

Being the only consultancy in the UK that is registered with the IBN as an IBN consultant, Gale & Snowden Architects were pleased to be part of the occasion. We met some wonderful people, learnt a great deal, and G&S representatives David and Tomas presented to the delegates on Saturday morning.

Gale & Snowden's presentation included the practice's approach to ecological design and our work with the IBN Building Biology Institute for a new leisure building in the centre of Exeter, planned to be the first Passivhaus Certified and Building Biology compliant leisure building in the world. One of the highlights of the conference was seeing the five-storey straw bale building where the conference was being held - Marvellous! 

Thank you to our friends at the IBN for organising the Conference and making us feel so welcome.

Visit our website to find out more about Gale & Snowden's ecological approach to design, or follow us on twitter @galeandsnowden for the latest updates.