Old Holloway

A seductively simple rural self-build Passivhaus dwelling, fit for the circular economy, not least by utilising an innovative pre-fabricated straw/timber system.

About this project

This project is a seductively simple rural self-build Passivhaus dwelling utilising an innovative pre-fabricated straw/timber system. The small single-storey family home has a pitched roof, south facing verandah and charred timber cladding which gives a nod to the local Herefordshire agri-vernacular. Its positioning creates an informal courtyard utilising the existing huts on site and the dwelling – an arrangement that is typical for the local area. The scale and massing of the simple single-storey detached dwelling, with pitched roof and south facing verandah, is sympathetic to local vernacular architecture.

The house is cut in to the existing ground, minimising visual impact of the building on the site, neighbouring properties and wider landscape, whilst working with the existing site contours. Orientation of the house is perfect due south, maximising the far-reaching views.

Materials include exposed self-finished (sealed) concrete slab, self-finished clay plaster walls, charred timber cladding from local cedar and corrugated metal roofing which was local and very economical. 

The project is the first UK application of the Ecococon timber/straw prefabricated panel system, a Passivhaus certified component which has been independently verified. The prefabrication method allowed for rapid and accurate construction, for example external walls were erected in three days and the house was water tight in four weeks. The system is also Cradle2Cradle certified.


UK Passivhaus Awards 2018  - small projects winner

ASBP Awards 2019 - highly commended

Further Information

AJ Buildings Library

Old Holloway blog


Images: Juraj Mikurcik

Key contacts


Juraj Mikurcik


Mike Whitfield Construction Ltd (shell)


Alan Clarke, Nick Grant, WARM

Structural engineer

Ecococon and Isoquick

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