Designing your house to keep cool this summer

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Summer is just around the corner! If this summer is anything like last year, we’re guaranteed some hot weather and sunshine. There’s nothing worse than sitting in a boiling hot house when the weather is so great outside. Therefore, here are some design tips to consider when looking at designs for your new build to keep your house cool in the summer.

  1. The use of living walls and roofs – Living walls not only shield buildings from direct sunlight, but evapotranspiration by plants also helps cool walls
Example of a green roof

2. The thermal mass of your building will also contribute to the heating and cooling of the building. During summer it absorbs heat during the day and releases it by night to cooling breezes or clear night skies, keeping the house comfortable. In winter the same thermal mass can store the heat from the sun or heaters to release it at night, helping the home stay warm.

3. Utilise cross-ventilation in your home. Cross ventilation is a natural or planned process where cold air displaces warmer air, therefore creating a light breeze. This can be achieved by opening windows at opposite ends of the house and using a fan to direct the flow of air.

4. Consider the use of porches to shade south-facing windows

5. Geo-thermal heating and cooling is another excellent way to regulate temperatures in your home with out installing air conditioning

Taken from Chinook website

How will Brexit impact my build?

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Unfortunately, the time has come for us to write an article about Brexit… The lingering shadow over the UK and the EU that seems to be taking longer than watching paint dry.

Brexit is at the forefront of many people’s minds and there is a lot of uncertainty about what will happen in the future. Uncertainty has lead to a decline in the housing market in the UK, with many buyers and sellers holding off doing anything with their properties until there is a little more security around the future of the UK. Whatever the outcome, Brexit (or no Brexit) will have a huge impact on the industry.

Construction contributes around 10% of world GDP, employs 7% of the global workforce, and consumes around 20% of the world’s energy. The construction industry is so important, it is widely seen as the best indicator of a national economy’s health.

What will the impacts be on the industry if we leave the EU?

  • The EU delivers up to 62% of our building materials and components – equalling approximately £5.7 billion in supplies
  • In Q4 2017’s, 67% of contractors said they struggled to find bricklayers, and 50% were unable to hire joiners and carpenters.
  • Office of National Statistics figures show that one-third of workers on construction sites in London were from overseas, with 28% coming from the EU
  • On a more positive note – Brexit could mean far less red tape in the construction industry, speeding up processes on site

In Summary…

If we leave the EU, the biggest impact will be on the availability of a workforce for construction, as such a large proportion of construction workers come from the EU. It has the potential to lead to a skills shortage catastrophe and means the government needs to look into new ways of improving skills amongst the UK population, for example, through apprenticeships funding. It will also mean we will need to find materials from elsewhere around the world or strike a significant trade deal with the EU. On the other hand, it also has the potential to decrease the amount of red tape that impacts the building of new homes in the UK.

The latest from Living Space Architects – 29/3/19

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The team have had a great couple of weeks. They have been kept very busy with lot’s of work in the pipeline!

Contemporary Barn Conversion in West Hill

We have been working on creating some fantastic images for a contemporary barn conversion in West Hill. In the image you can see we are trying to create a more open plan space, experimenting with different ways we can allow natural light into the space.

Kirsty applies for her Conservation Architect Status through RIBA!

Kirsty has been working extremely hard to apply for her official Conservation Architect status through RIBA.

Receiving “Conservation Architect” status means that RIBA accredits her to have an in- depth knowledge and experience of working with historic buildings.

Within this application Kirsty is submitting 4 papers reflecting the range of work areas a conservation architect undertakes, in which, she has used examples of some of her incredible work.

One of the projects Kirsty has written about is the extensive refurbishment and alteration project of what was originally a medieval hall longhouse in Dartmoor. The refurbishment and extension of the property won the Conservation Award in 2017 from The Devon Historic Buildings Trust!

3D scanning at a site visit in Langport

Although thy had a chilly start to the morning, Freya and Stuart came back with some awesome 3D scans from a site visit in Langport.

The inside of the property
Caught on the scanner!
And again!

Our Community Projects

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Latest news from Living Space Architects 01/03/2019

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We are extremely excited to announce that we will be working on a new project with the Salvation Army in Exeter!

A brief history of the building and the Salvation Army

The Salvation army was set up in 1865 by William Booth. William Booth was an evangelist who wanted to offer practical help to the poor as well as preaching the gospel to them. Mr Ernest Stear was a local Methodist preacher who ran the Temperance Chapel in Friars Walk, he offered the church to the Salvation Army for their use. The branch was a huge success and in October 1881 William Booth visited the City expressing his pleasure with the activities to date. He announced from the platform that they would buy the Temperance Chapel and convert it so that 2,000 people could be accommodated, and it would now be known as Exeter Temple.

The Temperance Chapel was extended to its present form, providing seating for 2000, and ancillary rooms. The front of the building in Friars Gate was built as a “citadel” with its tessellated features.

The image below (taken from Google Maps) shows the current building from the outside 

Whilst we are still in discussion with the community, we have been thinking about potentially adding a cafe and charity shop to the site whilst also making additional repairs and improvements.

Planning permission granted for a unique location in Haldon Forest

We have been able to secure planning permission for a beautiful location in Haldon Forest, using the Class Q barn conversion legislation. The property will be converted from a disused barn into 2 stunning properties. Keep an eye out for our next blog post, which goes into more detail about Class Q barn conversions!

Below are some amazing images of what the project will look like upon completion

Planning permission won for property in St Leonard’s

To find out more about the details of this property and how we managed to obtain planning permission, have a look at our recent blog post.

Planning Permission Won for House Extension and Alterations, North Devon

This project entails the re-positioning of this property’s kitchen to the new extension, opening out onto the garden. The design presents an exciting opportunity to design an extension which will have a strong aesthetic connection to the original house, re-using materials from the site.

Why we use BIM and why it’s great news for you!

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What is BIM?

BIM stands for Building Information Modelling. It is a broad term that describes creating and managing digital information about a building. Essentially, it’s the way in which architects now design buildings.

It’s purpose is to have all the information about a project in one place, in order to allow better decisions to be made throughout the design process.

The benefits of using BIM

1. This technology takes about half the time that hand drawn designs used to take, but allows us to delve into much more detail on the plans

2. Communicating the design can be made very creative and exciting. Using Virtual Realty technology you can virtually step inside your future home!

3. Facilitating collaboration has never been easier, several individuals can edit the design and input their ideas during meetings

 

4. Human error, although inevitable, can be reduced significantly as the design can be checked and corrected much quicker than with hand drawn designs

5. It makes changes to designs much easier. For example changing the size of windows can be altered at the click of a button and the roof height altered accordingly

6. Having all of the information in one place also means that it is much easier to facilitate RFI’s when needed

7. It considers the design as a whole, for example; aesthetics, material selection, access, maintenance and construction.

8. Provides spacial awareness and retains the feel of the original design

 

Our Design Process

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If you want to find out more detail about our design process, take a look at the PDF below.

LSA Brochure (new)

Wellbeing and Heritage

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The intriguing link between wellbeing and heritage

“Directly or indirectly, well-being, in some shape or other…is the subject of every thought, and object of every action, on the part of every known Being…nor can any intelligible reason be given for desiring that it should be otherwise.”

– Jeremy Bentham, Chrestomathia (1817)

We specialise in bringing historic and listed buildings back to life, we were pleased to hear that according to recent research by Historic England  living in historic buildings makes you healthier and happier.

What is wellbeing?

‘‘Wellbeing can be understood as how people feel and how they function, both on a personal and a social level, and how they evaluate their lives as a whole.” New Economics

How does heritage impact on our mental health?

  • Historic sites often require volunteers to run. The act of volunteering over time makes us feel happy and fulfilled within ourselves
  • Visiting heritage sites gives us an opportunity to spend time with family and friends whilst being immersed in culture and meeting new people with similar interests
  • We feel pride in the historic buildings in our area, they give us a sense of place e.g. In Exeter our historic buildings such as Exeter Cathedral and Exeter Castle give us a sense of pride where we live

Image result for Exeter Cathedral

The Results

“People who visit heritage sites are happier than those who do not. As noted earlier, between 2010 and 2013, on average, those who had visited a heritage site in the previous 12 months, reported happiness scores 1.6% greater than those who had not.” – Heritage Counts 2016 Report

In summary, heritage sites can help combat issues of isolation, exclusion and lack of identity, by building relationships between people and places.

How we obtain planning permission for an extension to a listed building

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St Leonards, Exeter

The Brief:

  • The client requested a major ground-floor extension, replacing the conservatory and bay window, extending into the garden and creating an extended kitchen and living space

The Problem:

  • The property is a listed building within a unique style of buildings in the area.
    • Regency style architecture – spanning the first 30 years of the 19th century and showing a natural progression from the Georgian style that preceded it
  • There was a need to ensure that the new extension did not obstruct the light to the neighbours property

The Solutions:

  • The pictures below show a “butterfly roof” whereby the 2 sections of the roof (one slightly raised with a gap between them) allow light into the extension itself as well as not obstructing light to the neighbouring property.
  • Having a very positive relationship with the planning officers meant that collaboration and feedback from them was able to be taken into careful consideration and implemented in our design.
  • The extension is very contemporary and contrasts to the Regency style architecture surrounding it. This is key to the design as it allows us to tell a story of the time period through architecture.

Pictures of the final drawings: