The nine-home Meadowside development is designed to minimise environmental impacts during both construction and operation phases.
The AJ100 practice, working with construction services firm Green Construct, designed the buildings to conform with level 5 of the now-scrapped Code for Sustainable Homes.
The houses will be built of SIPs (structural insulated panels) and clad in black timber with blue-grey roofs. Assael says this will give the homes ‘a modern aesthetic without drawing attention away from the surrounding natural environment’.
It potentially also means lower environmental impact and wastage during the construction phase, because the panels can be built off-site and put together quickly.
The residents’ heating and hot water will be provided by air-source heat pumps, while solar PV panels on every south-facing roof will generate part of their electricity needs. The development also includes bike storage and a recycling facility.
Full-height glass doors will open on to private rear gardens landscaped to maximise carbon dioxide absorption and minimise maintenance. As well as private gardens, the development will include a communal garden next to the river Wey, which will retain much of the natural fauna and include a timber boardwalk with views of the river.
A portion of the land on which the development is being built has been gifted to the River Wey Trust so there will be public access through part of the site.
Assael’s associate director and lead architect Stephen Wilmore said Meadowside was different from his studio’s usual projects but was ‘a real opportunity to create first-class, innovative and highly sustainable properties that will enhance the already naturally abundant Liphook environment’.
He said the vision was to kick-start a step change in architecture towards more sustainable new-build homes in the UK because ‘as an industry, it’s incredibly slow to take these things up’.
Green Construct had sought to deliver homes with genuine eco-credentials, said Wilmore, which would act as exemplars for future designs. ‘Here is something that looks contemporary but it delivers on an ecological level as well,’ he said.
‘Once you’ve built these things you’ve got a lot more weight in your argument about implementing the next one. It’s a case of: get it through the system, get it built, and then people will do it again.’