Malvern Hills

September 1, 2018

When Worcester based architect Nick Carroll was approached to design a Passive House inspired home that would be built on the very cliff face of the Malvern Hills, he knew it would be a once in a lifetime project for its owners.

Boasting over 18km of sweeping hillside and woodland between Herefordshire and Worcestershire, the Malvern Hills is one of the most iconic landscapes of England’s countryside, offering uninterrupted views as far as the eye can see. With such impressive views it’s not hard to see why Worcester based architect, Nick Carroll, was approached by a client hoping to make the most of them by building a family home on the cliff face itself.

Aptly named ‘Old Hollow’, the property became a completely new challenge for homeowner, Jonathan Flewers, who had unusually never seen the plot before purchasing. A top priority for Jonathan was creating an energy efficiency space, after being heavily influenced by Passive House designs and the ecological principles it implements in a property.

The newly constructed, three-storey property features an ‘upside down’ design that maximises the sweeping views and abundance of natural light of the Malvern Hills, with living areas on the top floor and bedrooms comprising the lower floors. Designed to be spacious and family friendly, the living areas on the third floor are entirely open plan.

Speaking of the build, Nick said: “Our brief was to design a unique cliffside property that was founded upon the principles of Passive House design. To ensure we achieved the best results I took the client along to a Passive House training session. We used materials such as stone, timber and glass to achieve this. Most of the stone we used was recycled from the hill itself, which we obtained during the digging process when laying the foundations. All products were chosen especially for their thermal efficiency.”

Ensuring energy efficiency

The structure was insulated internally and externally with all walls, floors and ceilings thermally upgraded to achieve the greatest level of thermal performance possible. This was extended to the specification of rooflights and windows chosen, with Jonathan wanting to maximise as much natural light and ventilation into the property. To support the energy efficiency of the home, triple glazing was specified as standard. Roof Maker’s 2m x 1m fixed flat rooflight was specified to be installed above the stairwell, with its triple glazing supporting the energy efficient design of the property.

Nick commented, “Roof Maker’s fixed flat rooflight was specified for the feature stairwell to help flood it with natural light. With a U value of 0.8 on the triple glazing combined with aluminium frames that offered exceptional heat insulation, the product was in keeping with the build’s environmental ethos.

“The rooflight was fitted on a north facing hill, lighting the stairwell from the roof, complying with the Passive House design principles. The recommendation of the fixed flat rooflight prompted us to design the staircase differently so the natural light would fill the entire area”.

In total, the project took three years to complete, with Nick and Jonathan working closely together throughout the entire process to create a unique family home. From its upside down approach, to the layout in the cliff side and the ecological design principles, Old Hollow is a one of a kind property that will be part of the Flewers family for years to come.

Find out more about the fixed flat rooflight on our website. Alternatively, call the Roof Maker team on 0116 269 6297 to find out how a rooflight could be best used in your project.