What would you imagine a home to look like if it once was an airbase and shelter for a US Air Force bombardment group in World War II? You probably wouldn't picture this farmhouse in Essex, England. Designed by Cameron Scott of Timberdesign with the help of Rationel Windows and Doors, this modern farmhouse is an adaptive reuse of an abandoned World War II airfield. Old barracks for the USAF 381st Bombardment Group have been transformed into functional areas for the new house and sit proudly next to this new farmhouse.
The owners of this property commissioned Scott to transform the existing airfield after seeing him at a timber construction conference. The farmland surrounding these Nissen huts had been without a farmhouse since the war and they knew something needed to be done. The architecture of the house reinterprets the design of the airbase into a regular family farmhouse through the addition of heavy timber design coupled with metal structural supports. This Douglas Fir timber frame structural system also allowed the family to design the open interior floor plan into the modern home that they desired.
The house is composed of two linear volumes connected by two walkways, which create a central courtyard. The courtyard provides a safe haven for the children to play in away from the day to day operations of the farm. One of the linear volumes is comprised of a story and a half of private space for the family, and a tower with 360 degree views.
Three dimensional simulations of the home during the design phase helped the owners better understand the thermal capacity of their future home. Scott was also able to design the house to come close to meeting the energy standard of Passive Haus. The addition of a 40kWp PV array, energy techniques such as passive solar, a solar thermal system, and biomass energy conversion help to not only make this a potential carbon-neutral project but possible carbon-positive.