Homes for Britain built using traditional materials

It was no surprise that the distinctive-looking ArcHouse won the H+H UK sponsored Homes for Britain category in the Sunday Times British Homes Awards. Designed by architect McInnes Gardner, the three-bedroom home’s distinctive curved roof gave this futuristic home a barn-like appearance that helped the scheme stand out from the five other impressive shortlisted entries. Almost one third of the people who voted in the competition chose this quirky scheme for garden city-type developments.

ArcHouse is a family house designed to be built for under £200,000. One way in which the architect has set about controlling it build cost has been to exploit modern methods of construction. The curving roof, for example, is constructed using structural insulated panels (SIPs) while the aircrete walls and gables that enclose the dwelling and support the roof are constructed using H+H’s Thin-Joint system.

The advantage of Thin-Joint for ArcHouse is that it combines H+H’s high quality, accurately dimensioned aircrete blocks with specially developed Celfix mortar. The system will enable the building’s aircrete structure to be built faster and to a better quality using a proven material which retains the flexibility of on-site construction. The Thin-Joint system will, in turn, allow follow-on trades to start work sooner in a weatherproof environment.

In addition to having the capability of being built quickly and cost effectively ArcHouse has also been designed to be energy efficient. The thermally efficient aircrete walls have been given an additional layer of insulation on the outside to ensure minimal heat losses from the building. Putting insulation on the outside of the building allows the occupants to benefit from the thermal mass inherent in the aircrete walls inside the building, which should help keep the building comfortable all year round. 

Behind the Thin-Joint aircrete walls, the three-storey home has an open-plan living/kitchen/dining area, two bedrooms and a galleried study on the first floor; the second floor contains the master bedroom a home office under the eves.

The distinctive ArcHouse was a worthy winner of the Homes for Britain category of the British Homes Awards. Its geometric, eco-friendly design demonstrates what it is possible to achieve when futuristic thinking and dynamic design are combined with proven materials and innovative construction systems such as Thin-Joint. The future of homes in Britain is built on aircrete.