performance and limitations

We are obsessed with the limits and conditions we inherit with every new scenario. Constraints - economic, cultural, historical, physical, political - give us the resistance we need to establish our responses; finite boundaries provide some welcome objectivity in a territory often characterized by shifting rules.

Our attitude towards energy use, for example, is primarily to minimize consumption, and only then as a second step to investigate the most appropriate forms of provision. An inefficient machine that runs from a ‘friendly’ power source is still an inefficient machine. As a technology for the building envelope, the Passivhaus movement is of most interest to us since its focus is entirely ‘performance’ based. It is the world’s most stringent energy consumption standard for buildings, now becoming widely adopted in Europe.

Peter is a Certified Passive House Consultant (CHPC) and a member of PHIUS, a North American Passivehaus equivalent. In the office we are currently developing a 16 storey residential tower in the mid-Atlantic climate as a ‘passive house’, which would be the first of its kind in North America. Our home and workplace for Rana Begum in London will also be insulated to passivehaus standards.

In architectural terms, we are drawn to solutions that are careful and sparing as well as powerful and dramatic, placing the emphasis where it’s needed while also actively seeking out spatial and material introversion. Both in physical extents and material palette, a rigour of constraint, sometimes necessitated by ‘external ’ factors, can often be the discipline that liberates a project.

We find that respite is an artful stage for exuberance and is our preferred medium to support the quirks and queries that we strive to attract and accommodate in our investigations.

13-004 Round Hill foundations
foundations at Round Hill