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Caretaker’s House

The Caretaker’s House at Hooke Park is based on a schematic design by students of AA’s Intermediate Unit 2 in 2009-10, which was developed for construction by architect Invisible Studio. It is a prototypical low cost timber exemplar building constructed from timber grown and felled on site, used in its green state and achieving passivehaus standards for insulation and airtightness. The house is lived in by Charlie and Georgie Corry Wright and family, who manage the Hooke Park workshops, catering and kitchen garden.

Technical Details

The building uses unseasoned larch/cedar/poplar/douglas fir/spruce as appropriate, uses wood for heating and also for insulation. It is (as far as we are aware) the world’s first green timber building insulated to passivehaus standards, with passivhaus airtightness.

The key move of the building is the ‘heavy’ north wall to provide privacy and insulation, and is very open to the south where there is a large inhabited verandah conceived of as an extension to the living space. The roof form is generated by, at one end, the need to gain maximum east sunlight penetration into the master bedroom, and at the other end, a living space with high natural surveillance over the campus. The bed and living spaces are separated by an open ‘dog trot’ allowing framed views out into the forest.

Even the joinery was manufactured on site: the kitchen has chunky timber work tops, and the stairs uses an innovative dry jointed system that gains strength as the timber dries. The handrail uses mild steel bent piping, welded on site.

Project Credits

Schematic design: Students of AA Intermediate Unit 2009-10: Harshit Singh Kothari & Rebecca Spencer (concept design); Elisha Nathoo, William Stanley, Beom Kwan Kim, Andrea Gillow Kloster, Harpreet Marway, David Hellstrom

Tutors: Charles Walker and Martin Self

Executive architect: Piers Taylor, Invisible Studio

Cladding and fit-out design: Hannah Durham

Engineer: Buro Happold

Contractor: Greenheart Sustainable Construction