Among various other awards he has won in his work for Associated Architects, for this house too, John Christophers has been fêted for the Cobtun House outside Worcester, using a startling mix of ancient and modern materials to create a low-carbon home which sits perfectly in its landscape.
The Cobtun House, winner of the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) Sustainability Award and the RIBA Architecture Award of 2005, is also featured on the Channel 4 website. And it won the Worcester City Design Award of 2003.
The client for the the Cobtun House gave this cryptic brief for the design:
Humour, Mystery, Fantasy
Ecological, Sustainable, Independent
Contextual, Agricultural, Invisible
One of the exciting things about the house is the total contrast between the ‘front’ and the ‘back’: you enter the house through a door in an earth wall facing north, which stores a lot of heat, while the glazed south face of the house captures the sun.
There is a full feature on the house in the Architects’ Journal.
The Centre for Earthen Architecture at the University of Plymouth has this to say about building with earth:
… balances the air humidity
… stores heat
… saves energy and reduces environmental pollution
… is reusable
… saves material and transportation costs
… uses low technology
… is ideal for self-help construction
… preserves timber and other organic materials
… absorbs pollutants
… maintains local distinctiveness
… continues traditional building skills.
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