The Houl Residence by Simon Winstanley Architects

By • Nov 17, 2011 •  Selected Work 

Scottish studio Simon Winstanley Architects has completed the Houl Residence project in 2009.

This 1,960 square foot low energy home is located near Darly, Galloway, Scotland.

The Houl Residence by Simon Winstanley Architects:

“The house is sited in a natural concave area of hillside facing principally west along the contours to enjoy the spectacular landscape setting of the river Ken valley and the ridges of the Rhinns of Kells hills opposite.

The intention was to create a contemporary single storey ʻlong houseʼ which is recessive in the landscape, sustainable in its construction, very low in energy consumption, and aiming for zero net emissions of carbon dioxide for all energy use in the house.

The design uses lightweight but highly insulated steel and timber frame construction, clad in cedar weatherboarding allowed to weather to a natural silver grey colour. The roof finish is pre-weathered grey standing seam zinc. Windows and external doors are triple glazed high performance timber, painted grey. All insulation levels are to Passiv Haus standards.

The slope of the roof of the main living accommodation follows the slope of the hillside, with the rear roof meeting the main roof at a shallower angle to allow morning sunlight to penetrate the centre of the house.

The entrance to the house is sited on the north east side of the house under the cover of the roof to provide shelter from the prevailing wind. The principal rooms are situated along the contour of the site to enjoy the views across the valley to the west. The ancillary spaces are generally to the rear.


The house is net ʻzero carbonʼ by using very high levels of insulation, minimising air infiltration heating using an air source heat pump with a ʻwhole house heat recovery ventilation systemʼ, and generating electricity using a wind turbine.

What do we mean by zero carbon houses?

Design to minimise carbon emissions from a building:Ensure energy efficiency.

  • Use micro-generation and low or zero carbon energy technologies to move toward energy self-sufficiency of the building.

A zero carbon house design will payback the carbon invested in its construction through exporting zero carbon energy back into the national grid.

On this site we believe that this definition of a genuine zero carbon house is the most appropriate. The payback of invested carbon and the aspiration to move toward negative carbon buildings (buildings that have exported more zero carbon energy back into the national grid than was expended in construction) are cornerstones of our zero carbon building definition.”

Photos by: Andrew Lee, Simon Winstanley Architects
Via ArchDaily

Click any photo to see a larger image - Use buttons or j/k/arrow keys to navigate through the articles

Share your Thoughts