Eco house

Ruspidge, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire

Mr and Mrs Sanders had purchased a plot of land on a sloping site just outside Cinderford in the Forest of Dean to build themselves a retirement home. Mr Sanders was particularly keen to take an ecologically responsible approach to the design wherever practicable. Modern bungalows occupied the adjoining sites and it was decided to arrange the accommodation on three floors with the upper floor on the same level as the bungalows in order to preserve the notional building line. The lower level incorporated the entrance lobby and cloakroom, a garage, workshop and stores. The middle level contained the open plan kitchen and living area with wide sliding glazed doors opening onto a timber deck and giving views across the valley. The upper level was to contain the bedrooms and bathrooms with access onto another timber deck. A single straight flight of stairs, located on one side of the house, connected all floors and the garden. The house would enjoy high levels of insulation due to it being partially buried into the site. Solar water heating and rainwater harvesting were to be incorporated into the design. Planning permission was granted despite difficulties with the local plan. The design was never executed.