Old Holloway Passive House Is All About Comfort and Luxury

©。Juraj Mikurcik/ a passivhaus in UK

Juraj Mikurcik self-builds a gem of straw and wood that demonstrates everything there is to love about Passive House design.

In a recent post we noted that Juraj Mikurcik’s Old Holloway Passivhaus was提名为英国被动别墅信托奖; here's a closer look. It’s what they call a “self-build” in the UK -- where owners manage the process themselves, from land acquisition to construction. Self-build is not for the faint of heart;read Ben Adam-Smith at House Planning Help如果你真的想要害怕。

©。 Passivhaus can have it all, including big windows that open/ Juraj Mikurcik

© Juraj Mikurcikjuraj多年来一直在他的房子上工作,并在去年7月搬迁。作为低能量,超级绝缘的无源房屋设计,它没有太多的加热,只是一个小型的4kW木炉,以及连接到热水器的两个浴室毛巾加热器。椅子上的狗可能会增加加热器的热量。我当然想知道它是否足够了。夏天也可能是由于过热而产生的问题,但Juraj writes on his blog:


©Juraj Mikurcik /热水器,侧面毛巾棒。


© Juraj Mikurcik

But that was last year; this summer has been incredibly hot in much of Europe, and I asked Juraj how it was working out. He sent me this chart showing interior and exterior temperatures, and writes:


© Juraj Mikurcik

It worked pretty well in winter too:

It’s all very well that the house is comfy in summer but what about when it gets cold out there? How are we going to cope with no radiators? Well, we needn’t have worried. As the season was turning colder, we were getting more and more ‘free’ solar gain from the lower sun, effectively balancing out slightly increased heat losses through the building fabric. It wasn’t until one evening in November when we lit the small wood stove for the first time. On average, we now light the stove for an hour or so every other evening, sometimes less often. As long as the sun is shining, the house maintains the temperature beautifully.
Ecococon panel

© Ecococon panel

是什么让被动房子设计如此舒适平均辐射温度-- the walls and windows are so warm inside that heat is not drawn from the occupant’s body, which is the main reason we feel cold. The walls in Old Holloway are made of straw, prefabricated intoecococon面板. This was the first installation in the UK, a brave move for a self-build project where you have nobody to blame but yourself if something goes wrong.


Interior table

© Juraj Mikurcik

The walls are finished inside with clay plaster, with a bit of “finely chopped straw in the top coat for a bit of sparkle .” There are many benefits to clay plaster; Juraj notes:

Clay plaster works brilliantly when applied directly to straw, as it allows moisture to permeate back & forth, effectively acting as a moisture buffer. It’s a healthier option compared to cement or gypsum plaster and will add significant thermal mass to the building – we have 7 tonnes of it to put on walls!

The exterior is clad in the material du jour -- Shou Sugi Ban or charred cedar. Juraj did it himself with a blowtorch; this is seriously time-consuming and very impressive.


Passivhaus Trust/Screen capture

Data nerds can be impressed with the numbers, but I am impressed with how warm and comfortable and inviting and big this 1,022 square feet of house seems, and the use of natural, healthy materials with low embodied energy. I am envious of Juraj; as an architect, I hated every building I designed (which is probably one reason I quit). I am writing this post in a cabin I designed and want to tear down. I do not think I could live in a house I designed without complaining every second. Juraj tells another story:


© Juraj Mikurcik

But it’s the other qualities of the house that we appreciate the most: the combination of open plan living and more intimate spaces, the sun rays shimmering on the soft clay plaster, the acoustics, the ability to accommodate big parties of friends, the luxury of being able to sit next to the large glazed window without feeling uncomfortable, the magnificent sunrises, the raindrops falling from the crinkly tin roof. We just love watching the world go by, whatever the weather.


Nick and Alan

© Juraj Mikurcik

As a side note, the mechanicals were designed by Nick Grant and Alan Clarke, seen hard at work here. Nick is known to TreeHugger for his principles ofRadical Simplicity, which were practiced on this house.