A former dairy building in Somerset, England, has been converted by British architects Skene Catling de la Pena into a five-room home. To this end, the architects not only made use mainly of local materials, but also sought to bring a holistic energy concept to bear.
In the immediate vicinity of the building lay stacks of coarse timber planks from a forestry outfit. In order to dry the freshly felled timber, the planks are kept apart by small separators to ensure air circulation. The architects drew their inspiration from this wood-stacking system and used it to develop their own design concept for the former dairy. The result is a ‘layered' house of stacked wooden planks and blocks of laminated glass. The oak planks are left untreated on the outside, while they are finely planed on the inside. Likewise, the blocks of laminated glass (sponsored by flat-glass makers Pilkington), are left rough on the outer side and polished on the inside. The glass blocks rest on rubber seals that are in turn positioned direct on the wood. The surface of the glass blocks are also coated with an additional foam seal to ensure a weatherproof expansion joint - the final proofing against inclement weather.