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Passive Solar Design

Category: Conversion Design Advice September 17th, 2010 by mbc

The opportunities for truly engaging with and implementing Passive Solar Design may be minimal on a conversion project – the orientation of the building is set and there may be limited opportunities for large glazed openings that can provide optimal solar gain.

But do what you can to maximise (openings) and manage (through materials, colours, blinds and shutters) your solar gain – it makes sense!

Snippets on MBC

Rather than my usual wordy ramblings I thought I’d challenge myself to come up with some short gems of (throw-away) advice on how I think you should go about a conversion… Snippets …this is one!

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Build in Technology

Category: Conversion Design Advice August 23rd, 2010 by mbc

Whatever the original structure, a conversion means major building work.

Take the opportunity to build in major renewable technologies – PV, solar hot water, rain-water harvesting head my list. Invest now for sustainability and low bills.

Snippets on MBC

Rather than my usual wordy ramblings I thought I’d challenge myself to come up with some short gems of (throw-away) advice on how I think you should go about a conversion… Snippets …this is one!

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Keep Beams!

Category: Conversion Design Advice August 10th, 2010 by mbc

Utilise as much of the original structure as you can and make the most of it.

Keep internal beams, exposed stonework (on fully internal walls only, building regulations prohibit exposed stonework on the interior of external walls), reuse original flooring…

Snippets on MBC

Rather than my usual wordy ramblings I thought I’d challenge myself to come up with some short gems of (throw-away) advice on how I think you should go about a conversion… Snippets …this is one!

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Environment for Children

Category: Conversion Design Advice March 18th, 2010 by mbc

I was invited to a talk by Christopher Day in Cardiff so thought I’d take a look at his work to see just what he was about. Can’t say I established that fully, but I did find an very interesting article by Christopher that feeds into the research I’ve been undertaking recently into my sons bedroom. The article, Environment for Children by Christopher Day gives some useful guidence in designing an environment for small children.

I recommend that you read the article for yourself, but my summary follows:

“Childhood is, essentially, the journey of growing up […] Small children need
protection from the wider world, whereas adults are only fully alive when engaged in it.”

Small children need:

  • As “small children live in a world between fantasy and fact” they need somewhere to retreat to, somewhere not too well lit, somewhere that provides a daydream inducing twilight.
  • A secret place, a calm, safe, protective place. We all remember our dens behinds settees or under cushions – a place to hide, play or simply retreat to.
  • Angles, edges and regularity are for the adult world, small children need spherical, soft edged, womb like places.
  • “Infants don’t think. They experience – with their whole bodies and through all their senses.”
  • Touch-friendly, tactile materials in their surroundings. Natural materials such as wood, clay and stone have a tactile vibrancy and ‘life’ not found in ‘unwelcoming’ man-made materials such as concrete or plastic.

“Even in unpromising surroundings, we can create environments for children.”

These needs are best provided for in out-of-the-way places in cellars, attics or under utilised parts of the home. Children want secret territories, adult unfriendly environments.

“The reassuring substantiveness and visual softness of curvilinear cob walls, for instance, suit infants, whereas exposed timber posts’, beams’ and struts’ visually explicit logic suit teenagers’ intellectual curiosity.”

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Clean Lines Update

Category: Conversion Design Advice February 23rd, 2009 by mbc

As the building progresses so some of the clean lines that I’m so fond of start to emerge. Below are some of my current favourite examples, more can be seen in my Picasa web album – (following a couple of technical hitches flickr seems to have abandoned me for the time being…)

They are to be found in many places and take many forms…

Of course, not all clean lines are new and ‘shiny’ they can also be old and organic.
From Clean Lines


It’s not all old either. This picture shows the high-tech face of clean lines – solar panels and modern ‘heritage’ velux windows set against original welsh slate roof.
From Clean Lines
This picture is a favourite of mine, with its sharp technical (clean) lines tempered by the decorative (but functional) oak beam. I’ve always been proud of the fact that the beams are both decorative and structural (they bear much of the weight of the first floor).
From Clean Lines
Visit my Clean Lines photo album on Picasa>>
Clean Lines


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Progress

Autumn 2013

Right that’s the summer over with, now I can get on with some real work without the distractions of other things (like holidays and playing with children, all that enjoyable stuff that gets in the way of progress)… With few major jobs (painting, boxing in – nasty stuff!) left inside, mainly fiddly things that need […]

I’m having a moan on twitter… https://twitter.com/barnconversion/status/368427314868396032

A lovely Flemish barn conversion

I love the interior of this conversion and the great use of horizontal slats on this conversion. I retains the essential ‘barnyness’ of the building… flemish-barn-by-arend-groenewegen-architect

Coming soon, my barn conversion guide… Interesting earthship greenhouse project on Kickstarter

I really like this Kickstarter project >> The Farm of the Future: Earthship-Inspired Greenhouse This project is “Prototyping the First 100% Off-The-Grid, Affordable, Low-Maintenance Greenhouse using Earthship Principles and Aquaponics“. If any of those words meaning anything to you you’ll be interested in the project if not, pass it by… It’s already funded so I […]

Barns

Barns Gallery on Remodelista

There is a lovely gallery of barn related inspirational photographs available on Remodelista.

Barns – the Long House

Situated on the North Norfolk coast, this is a building to admire…

Barns – the Balancing Barn

A stunning piece of architecture, although not entirely to my taste…

New fast-track planning permission for the development of barns proposed

The Daily Mail reports on a new fast-track route through planning controls for the conversion of barns…

De-assembled, re-assembled, re-cycled barns

“A bit like a private sector, modernising, repurposing St Fagan’s…”

Design

What is a shadow gap?

A shadow gap – a mysterious dark place between two plains…

Your barn conversion – "what you really wanted for yourself"

Thoughts on making YOUR barn conversion – "what you really wanted for yourself"

Building Regulations, Approved Documents Part D – Toxic substances

An overview of Building Regulations, Approved Documents Part D – Toxic substances

Building Regulations, Approved Documents – Part C Site preparation and resistance to contaminants and moisture

An overview of Building Regulations, Approved Documents – Part C Site preparation and resistance to contaminants and moisture

Building Regulations, Approved Documents – Part B Fire safety

An overview of Building Regulations, Approved Documents – Part B Fire safety

Architecture

Your barn conversion – "what you really wanted for yourself"

Thoughts on making YOUR barn conversion – "what you really wanted for yourself"

The Stirling prize 2012 winner – the Sainsbury Laboratory

The 2012 Stirling prize was won by a outsider, the Sainsbury Laboratory…

The Stirling prize 2012

I think that this years Stirling prize has some exciting projects on the shortlist…

Our engineers … our architects – Le Corbusier

The efficient, shiny world of construction in 1923…

Design in Storage

When designing a layout it’s easy to forget to plan for storage…

News

Green Deal slow beginnings?

Oh dear! The green deal hasn’t got off to a very auspicious start… As reported in the Telegraph today since it was launched nearly a year ago just 12 homes have taken advantage of the Green Deal with a few hundred more in the pipeline. 71,210 households had been assessed for Green Deal measures such […]

The property roller coaster – planning reform to be rethought

Eric Pickles vague compromise on planning reform keeps the house happy (for now).

Energy policy, smoke screens, fracking, confusion and big bucks

There seems to be only one thing that is certain in the world of energy policy and that is that costs will rise annually above and beyond anything that inflation can currently throw at us. Beyond that, smoke screens & confusion seem to reign. Take the recent news for example… It’s reported today that the […]

Flanking manoeuvres and good design…

It seems that the government are undertaking flanking manoeuvres on the green belt…

Green Deal Launch

The Green deal launched in the UK on Monday of this week. Fanfares? fireworks? a deluge of marketing? … read more …

Plaid Cymru’s Green New Deal promise

The leader of Plaid Cymru has promised a “Green New Deal” to rejuvenate the Welsh economy and help maintain Wales’ position at the forefront of Green policies.

Permitted development extension limits to be doubled

The government is due to announce a temporary increase in the maximum depth of extensions that can be built under permitted development rules.

Lloyd Khan, making shelter simple.

I wanted to share an interview with Lloyd Khan that I recently found…

Just what is ‘sustainable development’?

Sustainable development – with the term now enshrined in planning law, what does it mean?

Sir Patrick Abercrombie – “It is a matter for serious thought…”

While reading up on the response of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) I came across this quote from Sir Patrick Abercrombie…