Retrofitting a Victorian House in Bristol 

The House is a Victorian detached house built in 1875. As the majority of properties in this area of Bristol, the house had a lot of damp issues, no cavity walls or wall insulation and no DPC. In order to create a more sustainable and a healthier house it has been decided to retrofit the house in order to meet the current British Standard trying to lower the Carbon emission due to heat loss.

The opportunity for new build in this part of town is pretty much zero so the clients were always tied into having to do something to an existing building. Most of the buildings here are Victorian terraced houses. There are some exceptions to that as a result of the 70s, but the vast majority of homes are from the late 19th, early 20th century and so the clients were forced into retrofitting rather than doing a new build.




150 m2
Front Elevation 01.jpg

We conceived this house with a dual identity; one visible from outside and one private.

The public side has no windows and it looks like a solid element that crumbles at the bottom to give the illusion that house is not touching the ground.

The house is also surrounded by water to add another layer of “physical and visual” protection.

The other side of the house, the one facing the valley has a number of windows to create an interaction between users and the landscaping. Again, the façade is the element able to create this interaction. (Interactionism)

Section Model.jpg

The bones of the house are made of concrete and steel while the facades are made of translucent insulated material. The clients have been supportive on the choice of this material from the beginning. The solution was chosen both for the powerful diffuse soft light effect coming inside the house, both in winter and summer and for the ability to create a pure elegant façade that can mute its own identity when the light inside the house is on or off.

We recognised early on the ability of this material to create interactionisms (from inside and from outside) so we all felt that was the perfect solution to accomplish our initial sketches.

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