The Long House
The Long House is a Paragraph 79 design proposal for a new-build dwelling in Mid-Devon. The project will trial CobBauge, an environmentally innovative cob-construction system, at a domestic scale for the first time. The design reimagines the vernacular form of the Devon long-house to meet the unique demands of 21st century life and the post-nuclear family.
The Devon Longhouse is a vernacular form whose design is rooted in the distinctive character of the South West. This building type has evolved over 800 years in response to the unique demands of each generation. Our proposal for a new dwelling in Mid-Devon, continues this ancient practice of re-imagining the Devon longhouse for our own time.
Cob buildings are a common form of vernacular architecture in Devon, but currently they do not meet modern thermal regulations. The CobBauge project has developed a composite cob wall which conforms to building regulations, whilst also providing a low carbon, energy efficient solution. With the authorities requiring new construction and renovations that are sympathetic to the historic built environment, there are cultural and aesthetic drivers to use Cob walling. By developing new methods and training professionals in how to implement them, we can ensure this traditional technique is adapted so that it remains part of the landscape for centuries to come.
The CobBauge project was selected under the European cross-border cooperation Program Interreg V France (Channel) England, co-funded by over €4m from the European Regional Development Fund. The project is led by the University of Plymouth with contributing research from project partners in both the UK and France.
The design features a multi-height living space which creates passive ventilation through the stack effect. Heat and power are generated through a combined system of solar thermal, photovoltaics and an air-source heat pump, which are integrated and expressed in the architectural design.
Whilst new residential dwellings are not routinely permitted in areas designated as open-countryside, Paragraph 79 of the National Planning Policy Framework creates an exemption for design which is of exceptional quality. Paragraph 79 exists to protect the countryside, whilst making special exceptions for outstanding and innovative design. The policy recognises that outstanding examples of design are valuable assets to rural communities.
'By using the CobBauge material this proposal offers a pioneering take on sustainable design, allowing the wider construction industry to scale up the use of the CobBauge material and other innovations.'
Professor Steve Goodhew, University of Plymouth
'Trialling the CobBauge material at a domestic scale for the first time will allow us to contribute to the development of an environmentally innovative construction industry, whilst simultaneously raising the profile of design in Mid-Devon.'
Architect, Ben Huggins
STATUS IN PLANNING