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Hill Barn & Underhill House, Warwickshire

Located in the heart of the Cotswolds, Hill Barn was a derelict 300 year old stone structure situated in a prominent and beautiful location at the top of a hill in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Being in AONB open countryside, together with the fact that there was a Housing Moratorium in the area, made the prospect of obtaining planning permission extremely unlikely.

Underhill House is also designed as a Passivhaus – a German standard resulting in a 90% reduction in carbon emissions compared to that of an average home.  This project was in fact the first certified Passivhaus in England.

Download the project PDF here

Cotswolds Stealth House PPS7

Cotswolds Stealth House PPS7
We addressed these challenges by proposing to convert the barn into an office, and to slot the new house in underneath it.  So, despite the sensitive location, the design of the house was able to be very bold.  The existing barn has been carefully restored, whilst the new building underneath and adjacent to it is in contrast strikingly modern.  Being dug into the hill to be invisible from the surrounding countryside, this is essentially a stealth house, with absolute minimal visual as well as environmental impact on the landscape.


Cotswolds Stealth House PPS7

Cotswolds Stealth House PPS7

Planning permission was granted under paragraph 11 of PPS7 (now NPPF para. 55), a policy which gives special dispensation for new houses in open countryside which are considered to be ‘truly outstanding and ground-breaking’ and to reflect ‘the highest standards in contemporary architecture’.  Underhill House is one of only 20 properties in the UK ever to be granted permission under this rule.

Cotswolds Stealth House PPS7

Cotswolds Stealth House PPS7
 
Cotswolds Stealth House PPS7

Cotswolds Stealth House PPS7

Cotswolds Stealth House PPS7

Cotswolds Stealth House PPS7
Cotswolds Stealth House PPS7
photos by Samuel Ashfield, courtesy of Dow / Sto

Link to Channel 4 website

Link to our AI Passivhaus Blog

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