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SOUP gets go-ahead for £745k prefab Channel Islands house

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SOUP Architects has been given the green light for a new £750,000 prefabricated family home on the remote island of Alderney in the Channel Islands

The 380m² five-bedroom home will replace a 1934 house on the ‘rugged’ and ‘exposed’ site, which was built with a single skin of uninsulated concrete blocks. 

According to the London and Guernsey-based practice, the existing building has been damaged ‘beyond reasonable repair’ by damp and movement and it was cheaper to demolish it and start afresh than carry out an upgrade to meet current standards of construction, insulation and energy efficiency.

The approved scheme will be 2.5m lower than the original house and will be clad in timber.

Construction work is due to start on site this autumn.

Mannez ground floor plan

Mannez ground floor plan

Architect’s view

We have designed the dwelling for our client’s extended family, at present and into the future. We have therefore positioned two of the five bedrooms on the ground floor. Level access thresholds, a wheelchair accessible ground-floor WC and wide hallways are all a direct result of planning for our client’s future.

Flexibility in the layout also allows the house to open out to the surrounding landscape in a multitude of ways to mitigate the changeable weather patterns and maximise solar gain throughout the year.

We have lowered the height of the proposed building by 2.5m compared with the existing dwelling to set it more sympathetically into the surrounding landscape. The site and the surrounding area are of high landscape quality, and lowering the height of the proposed dwelling and setting it slightly west of the existing dwelling enhances the area’s overall landscape.

The top of the new dwelling’s roofline matches the eaves level of the existing building. This has the effect of making the dwelling less visible to all the neighbouring properties, without exception. This approach is reinforced with the use of natural finishes of certified timber cladding and a ‘living’ sedum roof. We feel this is more sympathetic to the landscape quality and a significant improvement to the dilapidated dwelling currently on site.

The replacement dwelling is sited in a similar location to the existing, with the first-floor element sited further north-west of the existing dwelling, further reducing the visual impact from the public road to the south. The new house maximises views of surrounding landmarks with views towards the large Second World War German observation tower, known as ‘the Odeon’, directly west of the site. The configuration also provides fantastic views of the Quesnard Lighthouse to the north, to Fort Houmet Herbé on the eastern coast and, on clear days, distant views of the French coast and the Cherbourg Peninsula.

The new, prefabricated dwelling will be energy efficient with high levels of insulation to provide minimum heat loss above and beyond local building regulation standards.

Good levels of daylight will be provided to habitable rooms on all levels and efficient ventilation provided by a controllable fully integrated mechanical system with heat recovery. The highly insulated house will be supported by an efficient underfloor heating system and good orientation will maximise the use of passive solar gain in winter months while shading at ground and first floor levels will minimise overheating during summer months.

The proposed first-floor level sedum roofs also added to the thermal mass of the building and assist with providing a more sustainable and attenuated drainage system to the dwelling and wider site context.

Soup mannez interior linear pendant

Soup mannez interior linear pendant

Source: SOUP Architects

Project data

Project Mannez House
Location Alderney, Channel Islands
Type New-build private house
Client Private
Architect SOUP Architects
Planning consultant SOUP Architects
Structural engineer Babbé McCathie Consulting Engineers
Site area 625m² (0.063ha)
Proposed footprint 221m²
Proposed GIA total 380m²
Works due to start on site Autumn 2018
Budget £745,000

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