Led by the earth

Words by Rosie Cattrell


At ARCO2, sustainable architecture is more than just a building… it’s a way of life.

With sustainability, health, comfort and wellbeing at the core of their practice, the team at ARCO2 take inspiration from the Cornish way of life and the beautifully wild landscape that surrounds them, as Co-Director Ian Armstrong explains: “Sustainability is everything to ARCO2 and the reason for our existence. We set up the company in 2003 with a passion for sustainability, and were one of the only practices in the south west with fundamental sustainable architecture principles.” Today, the team’s track record speaks for itself, with numerous sustainable design and practice management awards under their belt.


Specialising in one-off bespoke dwellings, the team at ARCO2 certainly don’t take their location for granted. “We are fortunate that, being located in the centre of Cornwall, we can be working on the north coast, south coast, on the moors, the riverside or within a town or city all within 30 minutes from our office,” explains Ian. “The variety of landscape, geography and topography certainly inspires our team at ARCO2, and outside of work we can be found surfing, fishing, running, climbing, paddle boarding and hiking. We have a deep connection with the landscape and environment, and a strong desire to preserve it.”

© Chris Hewitt


One of the many benefits of using ARCO2 is that they also work in parallel with their sister construction company, ADD Sustainable Construction (ADDSC), who are able to provide very detailed costings and a detailed programme of works.

ADDSC take on two or three select projects each year, priding themselves in taking away the stress and worry of a build, with the aim of a fun and enjoyable build process. Knowing that you are working with the same people from the early concept through to the completion must provide a rare, calming simplicity.

Left © Andy Gulland Yellowdoor Studios Photography | Middle © theheadthetail | Right © David Curran


ARCO2 adopt the principles laid down by the ‘passivhaus’ design standard together with a creative modern approach that is in harmony with the landscape. Ian explains: “As part of our commitment to sustainability we now calculate the embodied energy and whole-life environmental load to ensure we have made the appropriate design and ecological decisions, thus minimalising the environmental impact. We really want to make a difference, and truly believe that sustainable architecture and construction is the only way forwards.”


arco2.co.uk

Left © Unique Homestays | Right © Jon Cooney Photography and Rohrs & Rowe