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PDF Version of: Summer 2011

GBmag Summer 2011
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Cover story: The story of Withyfield Cottage is not just the story of a simple and delightful green building, but also an encouraging sign of ‘the system’ beginning to wake up to the whole concept. Talking to Janice Griffiths about the project I was pleasantly surprised to hear how helpful and positive the local Planners, Development Agency, and Building Control had been, and how the marketing department of Horsham Council ‘like unusual things’. If only more green projects received so much official support.

PDF Version of: Small World - Spring 2011

GBmag Spring 2011
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The Small World Centre, for community arts in Cardigan is a warm, light, welcoming building, which, among other things has achieved a BREEAM Excellent rating for the architecture and environmental features. The structure – the actual physical building, has been constructed in line with the principles of the Small World Theatre group, which has been operating for over 30 years. The group uses the medium of theatre, and especially puppets, to spread the ‘green’ message and get people involved in fighting climate change. The structure itself is built around a tepee like arrangement of six, 400mm diameter, 11 metre high Douglas fir poles – they are still in the round, de-barked and polished and very much still tree trunks. This design harks back to the idea of a circus big top, or the masts of a ship, Cardigan having a long history as a port. These poles frame the hexagonal central area, which is well lit by a large atrium at the apex. This central space provides a multi-purpose, two storey high hall, with plenty of natural light. However, if needed, a retractable curtain drop, raised and lowered manually by a winch, can create an indoor circular ‘marquee’ within the large space, with the ability for blackout at any time of day.

PDF Version of: Biomass, a fuel for the 21 century - Winter 2010

GBmag Autumn 2010
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Not withstanding that reducing energy consumption is the most pressing requirement for us all, the take-up of biomass heating in the UK and the wider world is, and will continue to be, an essential part of the ‘move’ towards a more sustainable  and safe world. Biomass is a natural, easy to grow and harvest fuel that need not be at the ‘expense’ of other uses for wood. Keith Hall introduces this feaure ... There are some very important factors that make biomass a sustainable choice for heating (where heating is required) and hopefully this feature will highlight some of those facts. Putting aside the discussion regarding whether or not we should still be erecting new buildings that require heating at all, it is clear that we still need heat in some form and will continue to do so for some time, in most new, and certainly almost all, existing building stock.

PDF Version of: Shingle Clad renovation - Autumn 2010

GBmag Winter 2010
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We looked at the options available to the couple in design terms and produced a number of different sketches. They even looked at the option of re-building the house but this was eliminated early on because local planning legislation would not have looked favourably upon a contemporary new building and the structure of the house was sound, making refurbishment the most sustainable approach. PAD came up with an environmental proposal based on the clients’ needs and the site orientation. The fundamental priority was to improve the thermal envelope of the house – the walls, roof and windows which have all been substantially upgraded to exceed the requirements of the new Building Regulations. The house benefits from a good southerly aspect, beneficial for solar gain, especially during the winter months when the sun angle is low and the heat of the sun can penetrate the living spaces and heat them naturally. Further glazing was proposed on the south face to allow for the benefits of solar gain and discreetly positioned solar thermal panels were added on the new portion of south facing roof.

PDF Version of: Zero carbon in the city - Summer 2010

GBmag Summer 2010
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Existing buildings are often the neglected Cinderellas of the green construction world. Less glamorous and less visible than new buildings, they are also easier to overlook in their potential for massive carbon reductions. Anthony Gormley writes: “The carbon crisis calls for a re-examination of our faith in the technological basis of Western progress. A change in belief is a cultural change; art and artists are implicated.” Architects and builders even more so. The carbon emissions from the buildings we design today will have implications for decades, or perhaps even centuries into the future. This article, by John Christophers, describes the recently completed ‘zero carbon’, part-retrofit house in Birmingham. The first part summarizes technical aspects of the project, before going on to describe the architectural design and materials.

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