Architects' Service & Fee Advice, Building Services Engineering, Building Technology, Community Development, Community Planning & Participation, Competition Entries, Construction Techniques, Contract Administration, Cost Estimating, Design & Build, Design for Special Needs, Ecological Architecture, Energy / Environmental Expertise, Environmental Impact Analysis, Exhibition Design, Feasibility Studies, Financial & Development Analysis, Full Architectural Service, Fund Raising Advice, Graphic Design & Illustration, Interior Design, Landscape Design, Lighting Design, Materials Advice, Multi-disciplinary Consultancy, Partnering, Planning Applications, Post Occupancy Evaluation, Product Design, Production Information, Project Management, Publicity Materials, Research, Rural Planning & Design, Sustainable Design
Constructing Excellence Awards 2011 - Winner
Sustainable Housing Social Housing Project of the Year 2011 - Winner
Inside Wales Property Awards 2011 - Winner
Constructing Excellence Wales 2011 - Innovation Winner
Constructing Excellence Wales 2011 - Exemplar
bere:architects designed two prototype houses in Ebbw Vale, Wales, named Larch House (for its larch cladding) and Lime House (for its lime render). Learning from these projects, bere:architects are currently working on low-energy council housing for the London borough of Islington. This project, on Highbury Quadrant, is the retrofitting to Enerphit standard of a run-down Victorian end-of-terrace flat conversion, and the building of a new Passive House family home.
The Larch House is the UK's first zero carbon (code 6), low cost, Certified Passivhaus, built as prototype social housing and launched at the National Eisteddfod for Wales in 2010.
Designed by bere:architects, the three bedroom house has been built 1000ft above sea level in an exposed and misty hilltop location in Ebbw Vale, Wales. In spite of this, most energy needs are met by heat from the sun, occupants and appliances. Indeed the Larch House generates as much energy from the sun in the summer months, from solar thermal and photovoltaic panels (with an estimated feed-in tariff of over £900 a year) as well as by glazing, as it uses for the whole year making it Zero Carbon by UK definition and showing how we can live comfortably with minimal impact on the natural world.
The project utilises Welsh construction materials and has involved development of Welsh skills and training in advanced energy saving building techniques. The collaboration with a Welsh timber framing company, a Welsh main contractor, and United Welsh Housing Association has already achieved the UK's best air test for a free standing house with a result of 0.197 at 50 Pascals as measured by Paul Jennings, one of the UK's most respected air testing specialists and surpasses the Passivhaus standard of 0.6 air changes per hour at 50 Pascals. This result is over three times better than the minimum required by the Passivhaus Institute and right up there with the very best German results. It is about 50 times better than required under UK Building Regulations. This is all the more remarkable as this is the first time this Welsh partnership has ever attempted to achieve the Passivhaus standard.
Neighbour to the already certified, zero carbon (code 6) Larch House, Lime House was cheaper to build than the Larch House, as it has smaller windows, reducing the cost and eliminating the need for external summer shading blinds. Its simple, compact shape in the style of a traditional Welsh cottage minimises the surface area from which it can lose heat, as well as the amount of insulation required.
In the Lime House, we were able to install the first UK-produced, triple-glazed, certified Passivhaus windows, which we developed with Wood Knowledge Wales and Bill Robertson, using Welsh wood for the insulated window frames. All of the windows and the front door use Welsh larch timber, thermally modified in Anglesey; most of the timber for the doors, wall panels, floor slabs and roof elements is from Welsh forests; most of the insulation is made in Wales, and the roof tiles come from a factory only two miles away. The staircase, the stonework and even the solar panels have all been made in Wales.
The closed-panel timber frame system was developed in close collaboration with Holbrook Timber Frame using Welsh timber, adapting framing techniques from German Passivhaus dwellings for use with faster-growing, softer Welsh timber. The panels are filled with Welsh-produced insulation in the factory, then clad on site with two further coats of insulation: a thick layer of natural loose-fill wood fibre on the inside, and the same depth of rigid wood fibre board on the outside, rendered with a thin coat lime render.
Both houses are currently being carefully monitored with funding from the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) with tenants moving in after the initial research phase. The monitoring will provide independent analysis of both the technical performance of the building and the level of satisfaction of the occupants and will provide an independent assessment of how closely performance matches our design intent.
Passfield Drive and Grove Road, funded by the Technology Strategy Board as part of the Retrofit for the Future programme, demonstrate how improved thermal comfort, reduced energy bills and lower CO2 emissions are possible for millions of people in existing houses, including social housing. Both buildings in London use external thermal insulation, Passivhaus triple glazing and excellent draught proofing. They are robust demonstration buildings where specific heat energy requirements have been reduced dramatically by super-insulation to create very comfortable, healthy indoor environments that are warm in winter, cool in summer, and have plentiful high quality indoor fresh air all year round. At Grove Road, both of the elderly occupants had extremely serious and terminal lung conditions. The retrofit of their home immediately resulted in reports from the occupants of significant health improvements, showing how Passivhaus techniques not only vastly improve energy performance and thermal comfort, but also can contribute to a healthy living environment.
The Victorian end-of-terrace property at Highbury Quadrant was converted to flats in the late 20th century. The property has been used as social housing, and has become run down, with poor fixtures and significant structural issues. bere:architects have been monitoring the property over the winter months, and have found internal temperatures in the low single figures. The property is to be externally insulated, save for the historic front facade, where internal insulation will be used. The flats will be adjusted to provide a large, 3-bedroom family maisonette. Technologically advanced heating and ventilation systems will ensure the residents are kept warm during the winter months, and will eliminate peaks and troughs in the internal temperatures, providing much improved levels of thermal comfort.
The new build property, which will be sold to pay for works to the retrofit, is designed to meet rigorous Passive House standards. The house nestles into an angled plot, which was previously an overgrown driveway. The contemporary design enhances, rather than mimics, the historic terrace. The building steps down to the rear, with terraced green roofs, providing the residents with views of an urban garden at each level.
It is important that we continue to build houses that incorporate sustainable features both in the finished product and in the building process. We are striving for a perfect balance; incorporating greener methods of building and offering benefits to tenants through lower energy bills and improved comfort.
(Lime House photo credit: bre group)
Architects' Service & Fee Advice, Art & Architecture, Brief Writing, Building Services Engineering, Building Technology, Byelaw Requirements, CAD Services, Client Advisor, Community Development, Community Planning & Participation, Computer Graphics, Conservation & Restoration, Construction Techniques, Contract Administration, Cost Estimating, Cultural Design Specialist, Design & Build, Design for Special Needs, Design Management, Ecological Architecture, Environmental Impact Analysis, Feasibility Studies, FFE (Furniture, Fixtures & Equipment), Full Architectural Service, Landscape Design, Lighting Design, Materials Advice, Model Making, Project Management, Sustainable Design, Town Planning, Urban Planning & Design
London Bridge Staircase - shortlisted, 'Best New Public Space', London Planning Awards 2017
Our vision for the revitalisation of civic architecture places as much emphasis on improvements to existing infrastructure as on new build. We have consistently adhered to this principle in our work in both public and private sectors and on historic monuments. With each project we make a thorough analysis of social and demographic factors, and use durable, sustainable materials and construction techniques. We strive to create holistic, democratic solutions that are environmentally advanced in their use of energy. They also aim to challenge the traditional definitions of space; public v private, leisure v work. We believe that architecture can be a manifestation of civic pride.
London Bridge Staircase is a stunning piece of public space on one of the Thames’ busiest bridges, an engineering tour de force, and a keystone of the City of London’s ‘Riverside Walk Enhancement Strategy’: creating a revitalised, better connected, and more vibrant route along the north bank of the Thames.
The new staircase is cantilevered over the River Thames, connecting London Bridge and the River Walkway on the north bank of the Thames. It is clearly identifiable and its curved landings offer panoramic views across the river and spectacular views of Tower Bridge. The new route is spacious and light, and benefits from natural surveillance, ensuring people now feel comfortable and safe when walking between the Bridge and the Riverside.
The site was identified by bere:architects as suitable for a new staircase, in spite of its many constraints. It is hemmed in by London Bridge and the Riverside Walkway beneath, and sits directly above London Underground's Northern Line. Furthermore, no vertical load could be carried by London Bridge at this location, and no loads could be put into the river wall beneath, nor directly into the river bed. So a series of 13.5 metre piles were drilled extremely carefully into neighbouring land, to avoid penetrating the Northern Line underground tunnel directly below.
The restoration of the Monument, in the City of London, includes a new pavilion with automated public conveniences and staff facilities in a pedestrian square with a landscaped garden.The pavilion and the paving use dark Caithness stone, the former made of cubes and encased in a sleek glass skin. The inspiration for the designs comes from the Monument itself, and the stone used is taken from cut-offs left over after paving the square. The 50 small panels of glass on the roof of the pavilion are tilted so that visitors at the top of the Monument see a shimmering reflection of the gold orb at its peak.
The pavilion is a key element in the City of London's Street Scene Challenge, launched in 2003, to enhance the appearance, function and safety of the City's streets.
Commissioned as part of a wider interchange project looking at improving links between the DLR and East London Line stations, Shadwell DLR station consisted of major engineering works, spatial and technical reorganisation, improved wayfinding and security, and re-lighting and re-designing every aspect of the station. We also included measures to improve sustainability, such as the disposal of rainwater on site via a ground water soakaway, provision of retail space for local small businesses and a locally orientated public arts procurement programme.
The renewal of visitor facilities for Tower Bridge, one of the City of London’s main tourist attractions, was driven by a desire to create more attractive and better functioning facilities for staff and visitors alike. An important part of the solution is improved winter energy efficiency. We also devised a unique summer cooling system that utilises a reservoir of naturally cooled air found in the bascules of the bridge that contain a counter-balance system for elevating the bridge. The environmental strategy reflects a genuine desire of the City of London to address issues of sustainability for the benefit of the global environment.
Our redesign of the Mansell Street entrance of Tower Gateway station in east London regenerated its facilities and reduced crime and antisocial behaviour. The site, formerly a derelict piece of land between a bust road, a multi-storey car park and an elevated railway line, was heavily used by the public despite the risk of crime. The redesign improved the lighting, signage and street-level paving, removed hidden corners and introduced new wall surfaces discouraging vandalism. The result is an infinitely better public environment that is safe as well as aesthetically pleasing. The improvements were subsequently demolished as part of the four-car platform extension project.
|7: Project Name||The Muse (Towards Passive House)|
|Dates:|| 2002 - 2016|
|Location:|| London |
|Gross Area:|| 250 to 499 sqm |
Development, Houses and Housing - One-off Houses, Landscaping - Gardens, Landscaping - General
Building Technology, Cladding & Facade Design, Construction Techniques, Ecological Architecture, Energy / Environmental Expertise, Environmental Impact Analysis, Full Architectural Service, Landscape Design, Lighting Design, Post Occupancy Evaluation, Product/ Component Development, Self Build, Sustainable Design
MIPIM / Architectural Review Future Project Prize; Comm£ 2003
The Muse in north London is an energy efficient, solar, family home started as a self-build in 2002. It is one of the most 'rounded' ecological buildings in the UK, built close to Passivhaus ecological and energy saving standards and also built as a wildlife sanctuary and an oasis for neighbouring taller buildings to look down upon. Design and construction began before Justin Bere was fully aware of the Passivhaus standard being developed in Germany at the time, but it has been designed to an almost identical specification. The Muse firmly sets the standard for future housing with an apparently effortless amalgamation of its many and varied environmentally responsible solutions with its beautiful forms.
The Muse's ecological features include: a 3000 litre underground rainwater storage tank for supplying the wcs and the garden; 50cm or 20" thick super-insulated walls (11" insulation); low CO2 concrete foundations and first floor slab (made with ground granulated blast furnace slag to replace most of the cement) provide thermal mass for stable temperatures and natural summer cooling effect; heat recovery ventilation throughout, uses just 70watts of power to provide ample ventilation whilst saving 95% of the winter heat that would otherwise be lost by opening windows; triple glazed windows throughout, including some German Passivhaus; very good airtightness; whole house water filtration for bathing as well as drinking; solar thermal hot water heating with sufficient panels to dump excess heat into an 11m (36')long swimming pool in the summer, so there can be enough panels as a result to heat a much larger proportion of hot water in winter months than normally possible. Water will be treated ecologically (without chlorine) and waste water from the pool will be supplied to the rainwater tank and recycled for use in lavatories and the roof gardens if necessary.
As the project is an on-going self build and currently houses the practice's office. The striking design with four green roofs featuring native meadow, coppice and thicket habitats have been widely published nationally and internationally in newspapers, magazines (including National Geographic), text books, press, government and local authority publications, statutory authority publications etc.
|8: Project Name||Focus House (Towards Passive House)|
|Dates:|| 2008 - 2009|
|Location:|| London |
|Gross Area:|| More than 500 000 sqm |
Community Participation, Houses and Housing - One-off Houses, Landscaping - Gardens, Landscaping - General
RIBA London Awards Winner 2007
Grand Designs Awards Eco House of the Year 2007
British Homes Awards Small house of the year 2007
The second in a series of ecologically advanced houses, this is a low-maintenance, low-energy, low-cost home in north London for a young couple and their children. It replaced a large Victorian property next door with a compact environment to suit contemporary needs.
The house was built towards Passivhaus standards and used non-toxic materials, which ensures a supply of healthy air and water. Super-insulation, air-tight construction and solar thermal water heating, coupled with water filtration, heat recovery ventilation and solid-core wood construction, mean that the house has a low carbon footprint
Energy preservation is a key element of sustainable living. It is one of the central principles in bere:architects’ choice of materials and design aesthetics: we combine ecological effectiveness with pleasing forms. All our buildings, both domestic and public, are intended to be exemplars in energy efficiency and to set precedents in sustainable and affordable design.
We build to Passivhaus standards. Passivhaus is a German approach, defined by Wolfgang Feist, that requires a high level of insulation and an air-tight construction, and, to maintain a flow of fresh air, an efficient heat recovery ventilation system. This uses very little energy, and saves a lot of energy that would otherwise go to waste. Other forms of energy become viable alternatives to fossil fuels, meaning that zero-carbon building is achievable. It demands a particular approach to design and construction, and demands rigorous on-site testing during the building process.
|9: Project Name||Kings Mews (Low Energy)|
|Dates:|| 2012 - 2016|
|Location:|| London |
|Gross Area:|| 100 to 249 sqm |
Houses and Housing - General, Houses and Housing - One-off Houses
Building Services Engineering, CAD Services, CDM Co-ordinator, Construction Techniques, Contract Administration, Drawing Service, Ecological Architecture, Energy / Environmental Expertise, Interior Design, Materials Advice, Model Making, Space Planning, Sustainable Design
A contemporary, low-energy new-build home with basement on a tight urban infill site in central London.
Completed September 2016, 25 King’s Mews is a new-build, low-energy house in a run-down London mews, that until now has been blighted by neglect. Plain, London stock brickwork facades appear to date mostly from the latter half of the 20th century, and any qualities that they had, have been ruined by alterations carried out with hard cement mortar repairs.
Most of the mews is likely to be renovated or re-built beyond recognition over the next few years, and 25 King’s Mews was the first building in the mews to be renewed. Our aim was to set a high-quality benchmark, but a reserved and unostentatious tone for the mews; matching the height of the existing streetscape with a plain, light-cream stock brickwork elevation containing rubbed lime mortar with an attractive, gritty texture. Two discreet interventions bring a quietly creative character to the mews: a delicately woven screen in front of the recessed ground floor entrance, and a planted roof garden which will eventually benefit the streetscape.
The section of the new house is an object lesson in how to overcome the problems of a site that was heavily overshadowed by a tall new residential development that abuts the rear of the house. In addition to the front façade with its full-width screen, suggestive of a mews gateway, the new house achieves a second elevation with opening windows set back at ground and basement levels, and a third elevation at first and second floor levels, half way across the plan; where roof lights bring light flooding into the middle and rear of the ground floor.
Super-insulation, airtightness, heat recovery ventilation, and triple glazing, are features that we have brought from our Passive House work, to create a comfortable and healthy interior, whilst requiring very little energy to run.
|10: Project Name||StandUP Tower Passive House|
|Dates:|| 2015 - (ongoing)|
|Location:|| Oslo |
|Gross Area:|| 10 000 to 49 999 sqm |
Development, Offices - General, Urban Planning & Design
Competition Entries, Design Services only (Stage C), Ecological Architecture, Feasibility Studies, Master Planning, Sustainable Design
A proposed skyscraper in Oslo, demonstrating that even high-rise can be plus-energy and built from sustainable materials.
Oslo’s newest high-rise building, the StandUP Tower, will be a slender, braced-timber structure; a Plus-Energy building which is optimized to the site conditions; generating more energy than it requires while providing
flexible spaces flooded with daylight from big, opening windows.
Two linked tall structures are engineered from timber and steel and designed for the minimal use of operational and embodied energy. Natural materials provide healthy and comfortable conditions all year round, with the added benefit of heat recovery ventilation during winter months. At least 50% of the building’s total footprint on the land will be dedicated to nature. Three public floors at the base of the building, and up to 50% of the cultural tower might be dedicated to the E.O.Wilson Foundation’s Half Earth mission and to accommodating a Life on Earth Global Educational Centre, seminar rooms and other associated facilities, together with a new Neil Young Musical Arts Centre.
A new south facing plinth garden, 50% dedicated to nature, will connect to a re-invented Vaterland Park, a natural habitat park, expanded to the Spektrum brick wall. The 34 storey public tower will also bring culture, dining, city views and many opportunities for young people to develop interests in musical arts and the environment, to the mutual benefit of the users of the 24 storey offi ce building and the wider society.
StandUP Tower will help prepare young people to create a more sustainable, vibrant and healthy future for the 21st Century and beyond.