Periscope House

Local western red cedar cladding and modified MDF provide weather resistant cladding to this outstanding eco-friendly home.

About this project

Built on virgin land that looks to the south with a gentle slope towards the River Tud, the architectural response to site’s characteristics is plainly evident in the two, cedar-clad periscopic balconies that frame views across the valley and are aligned to summer and winter sun angles to provide passive solar shading.

The house’s low-energy strategy does not end there: the courtyard created between the two wings has minimised the plan depth of the building which, in combination with a substantial GGBS concrete trombe´ wall and stair and a high level rooflight, provides a low impact, season-specific passive heating and cooling system.

Use of timber

The house’s sustainable timber credentials are strong: the horizontally-fixed western red cedar cladding used at first floor level was sourced from woodlands within 500 metres of the site and milled by a local sawmill. The planks were stacked ‘in stick’ in nearby redundant farm buildings before being processed, graded and installed by a team of Masters degree architecture students from the University of East London.

The south-facing fascias to the periscopic balconies have been treated differently: both are formed from Medite®Tricoya®Extreme to provide a high-performance, low maintenance solution and a precise edge to the end grain of the cladding on the side walls and to the roof ends above.

Together with the other ecofriendly materials and energy solutions employed, this contributed to the Periscope House being the first dwelling in the UK designed to Level 6 of the Code for Sustainable Homes to secure planning permission through Paragraph 55 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) which stipulates that only designs of exceptional quality and to the highest architectural standards should be approved for buildings in rural areas.

Further information

The Modern Timber House in the UK, chapter 4

Take a closer look at modified wood.

Find out how to specify modified wood.

Images: Peter Lander

Key contacts




Studio Bark Architects

Timber Supplier

Medite Tricoya Extreme

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