[from Islington Gazette]
Award winning eco house set for TV stardom
09 January 2008
|ECO house in Prah Road, Finsbury Park, could feature on TV’s Grand Designs after winning a top award in the magazine version of the Channel 4 show|
AN unusual looking new house that attracts more than a passing glance from passers by could be featured on television.
Focus House, which is squeezed on to a wedge-shaped piece of land next to a Victorian terrace in Prah Road, Finsbury Park, has just been featured in Channel 4’s Grand Designs Magazine.
|Justin Bere, of bere:architects, designed the award-winning house in Finsbury Park|
The architects behind the creation now believe it could be featured on a Grand Designs programme being planned for next year. Focus House was built last year for graphic designer Edwards Gibbs, his wife NHS manager Felicity Canning, and teenagers Sarah, 19, Jack, 17 and Hugh, 13.
The low-cost and low-energy house has since won a clutch of awards – it was eco house of the year in the Grand Designs Awards 2007, was small house of the year in the British Homes Awards 2007 and was a London winner in this year’s RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) Awards.
The zinc-covered 250 square metre house, whose walls, floors and roof are made out of timber slabs, was built in just six months.
It is only 2.8 metres wide at the front – but stretches out to seven metres wide at the back. It has a living and dining area on the ground floor, a secluded garden, and a study, two bathrooms and three bedrooms over the first and second storeys.
It is also super-insulated and airtight, boasts a heat-recovering ventilation system and harnesses the power of the sun to heat up to 60 per cent of the hot water needed.
Sarah Gibbs, who is studying business at university, said: “A lot of my friends come over and say, ‘Wow, you live in a Grand Designs house’. But I don’t see it as being so different any more. At first we were questioning how it would work and then we were really excited and seeing it go up every step of the way.
“It’s very open plan. Because there are five of us, the question was whether it would work. But it works really well.”
A spokesman for bere:architects in Rosebery Avenue, Finsbury, which designed the house, said: “We are very pleased. It is a good model for an affordable, new-build, super-energy efficient house.”
But while bere:architects believes houses like this are a way of alleviating London’s housing shortage – and need for more environmentally friendly homes – it warned of going too far.
Its spokesman said: “We mustn’t just build on any available space even though there is an affordable housing crisis. Conservation of biodiversity is also extremely important. Spaces that may seem to be inhospitable urban wastelands usually actually contain an abundance of biodiversity.