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Striking a balance

Words by Ysy Lees.

Combining sustainable practices with contemporary design, ARCO2 have made Wayside a place to call home across several generations.

When it comes to designing and constructing homes that marry client aspirations with a sustainable ethos, this is where architecture firm ARCO2 flourishes. Each property is designed for the future and presents itself in the form of contemporary construction that strikes the perfect balance between sensitivity and innovation. Built to respect the land as a comfortable yet modern multi-generational living solution, Wayside in Mawgan Porth truly encompasses all that ARCO2 believes in while achieving the client’s brief.

What is now the pinnacle of modernity, began as a single-storey bungalow that provided unsuitable and minimal living accommodation. It was of simple form, poor-quality construction and in today’s context, its refurbishment and expansion would ultimately not equate to economical or sustainable future-proofing. Instead, the premise of a high-quality home creates an opportunity to greatly improve the character of the local area. Stunning views of Mawgan Porth were also screened out by large hedgerows, access to the bungalow was inefficient and it generally lacked privacy with neighbouring properties overlooking the external space.

In contrast, the proposal of Wayside was carefully created to promote a robust Cornish identity; think local materials, new planting and sensitive landscaping. These combined strategies aimed to engender a recessive, humble, subservient character that assimilated with the topography and procured a contemporary link to the built environment of Mawgan Porth. However, there is much more to creating a property than what we see on the outside. It was also important that the proposal supported both the needs of the clients themselves and the future needs of the mother of one of the clients. It had to consist of an open-plan living space, including a kitchen, dining and lounge area as well as four bedrooms with lots of natural light and private views. The client also wanted the property to include an inviting entry sequence and foyer with private amenity space and improved privacy to the rear making it homely, convenient and spatially comfortable, suitable for multi-generational living. The proposal was designed with the provision of sustainable improvement upon the previous dwelling, encouraging a built environment focused on health and wellbeing to explore breathable construction and high levels of insulation. The ultimate aim, combining both ARCO2’s environmental objectives and the needs of the client, was to provide a timeless building that harmoniously blended with its surroundings.

I think it is safe to say that the finished product does just this. Aligned with paragraph 58 of the National Planning Policy Framework, which encourages design to “reflect the identity of local surroundings and materials, while not preventing or discouraging appropriate innovation”, Wayside’s design language cross-references the unique characteristics of the site and Mawgan Porth as a whole, from its local natural materials to the grassy garage roof. Take a closer look inside and you’ll find interconnecting social spaces with private amenities, where needed, creating a flow of access between living accommodation. Each room has an abundance of natural light, flooding with sun during the day and providing an open space to watch it sink beneath the horizon as the day draws to a close.

By having the living accommodation arranged on the first floor, the impressive family home boasts uninterrupted views to the west that stretch across the beach and glistening blue sea. Covered balconies with glass balustrades extend around the property and provide the perfect spot to spend a balmy summer’s evening taking in the panorama of coastal bliss that surrounds it. Wayside was constructed by ARCO2’s sister company, ADD Sustainable Construction which is evident in the cohesion between design and build both inside and out. Considering its low impact and positive sense of place, this dwelling was created to be homely, convenient and spatially comfortable, utilising a vernacular palate of materials and styles that provide an exemplary benefit to the local area.Naturally, it wouldn’t be an ARCO2 property if it didn’t utilise innovative methods of sustainability. Encouraging a built environment focused on health and wellbeing, this family home promotes a future-proof solution in accordance with climate change goals and aspirations.

Wayside is constructed on an encapsulated cast in-situ concrete raft which was locally manufactured using secondary aggregate from the clay industry and later sealed with a 100% recycled DPM. The walls consist of two independent timber frames which allows for maximum recycled newspaper insulation without cold bridging throughout the walls. ARCO2 implemented a high-efficiency MVHR system to provide excellent indoor air quality, filtering the moisture, particulates and pollutants, while reducing noise levels with its rigid ducting. The lighting both inside and outside of Wayside is 100% dedicated low energy and the property has a minimum of A-rated appliances throughout. The dwelling balances environmental sensitivity with high performance; it exceeds the minimum passive house u-values whilst also having a very respectable air pressure test result to maintain consistent comfort levels throughout the year. From triple-glazed windows to the ground source heat pump, Wayside is a sleek and functional family home that both blends with the land it inhabits while offering a versatile, sustainable space for the clients to make their own.

The clients themselves are also delighted with Wayside, stating: “It has been fantastic working with ARCO2 Architecture to design our beautiful bespoke property in Mawgan Porth, Wayside. They understood exactly what we were after from our very first meeting – a contemporary, ecological family home that can be used by different generations with a mind to future use and potential disabilities. Overall we’ve been extremely pleased with our relationship, both with ARCO2 as well as the in-house construction company ADD Sustainable Construction who we used to build the property. We’ve had a great rapport with everyone we’ve worked with; they’ve often gone above and beyond to help us out and as a result we now have a beautiful property to enjoy for years to come.”


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