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Architype scoops planning for UK’s largest Passivhaus development

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Architype has received planning permission for the largest Passivhaus development in the UK

The Hereford-based practice has received planning permission for a 150-home scheme.

Recommending the scheme for approval, the planners said: ‘This is an innovative development proposal that is a radical and positive departure from conventional modern housing developments. The development will also maintain and enhance the vitality and harmony of the community. The environmental sustainability of the buildings in particular is exemplar and would set the benchmark for other developments both within the county and elsewhere to follow.’

According to the practice, the eco-housing scheme in Herefordshire aims to ‘transform both the quality and sustainability of developer housing in the UK’.

Architype director Jonathan Hines commented: ‘We are delighted that in granting approval the planning committee recognised the visionary and innovative approach. It has been a liberating experience to rethink our role as architects and tackle the issue of housing development from first principles. This scheme will establish a new benchmark in housing development, by demonstrating that better design quality and Passivhaus can be achieved as standard.’

Attempting to combat the view of ‘Passivhaus as an unaffordable extra’, the sustainability standard has been integrated into the development from the start, aiming to prove that it can be achieved within standard budgets.

The practice’s director Jonathan Hines has joined forces with Swedish businessman, Lars Carlsson to set up a new development arm, named Archihaus, which will act as both client and developer for the project. 

Drawing inspiration from both Passivhaus principles and the local Herefordshire vernacular, the house plans are shallower in depth and have a wider frontage than typical housebuilder homes.

The rural site’s layout features three groups of 50 houses set around a large park space.

Architype Archihaus section

The houses will be pre-fabricated, using standardised modules and efficient panel sizes. This approach could ‘achieve higher standards at a competitive cost, achieving high standards at a cost that is competitive to standard construction’, Hines assured. Drawing from European house building principles the houses will be constructed in a local factory, which will be established close to the Herefordshire site.

The first phase of the development features a ‘cohousing area’ of 21 houses set alongside a community centre, in an attempt to establish a community on the new development.

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