A Cozy Home on the Rugged Welsh Coast Takes Cross-Laminated Timber to Its Limits

The carbon-sequestering construction is on display throughout the interiors, where Maich Swift Architects added subtle finishes and fixtures for warm, welcoming spaces.

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Project Details:

Location: Gower Peninsula, Wales

Architect: Maich Swift Architects / @maichswift

Builder: Paul Thomas & Son

Structural Engineer (Foundations): Constant Structural Design

Timber Specialist Engineer: Eurban

Photographer: David Grandorge

From the Architect: "Located on the Gower Peninsula in South Wales, this project deals sensitively with the village of Rhossili and exceptional scenic qualities of the site that is part of the first designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the United Kingdom. The project includes a new solid timber building and the refurbishment of a collection of existing outbuildings that occupy a dramatic position at the edge of the village on the limestone cliff overlooking Rhossili Bay.

"The character of this project is defined by a combination of distinctive elements that reference the volumetric composition, scale, and material palette of the local residential type. The exterior form of the house is generated through internal spatial configurations that work to enhance a specific view or produce an unexpected interior space. The internal spaces are arranged around a central stair and orientated toward the long views north and west. The positioning, size, and proportion of the windows, which invite the insider to visually and physically engage with the surroundings in particular ways, give the house a strange scale when viewed from afar.

"The superstructure of the building is constructed using solid spruce cross laminated timber, and embraces the technical issues relating to the construction of a building on such an exposed site. The high performing thermal properties of the building envelope reduce the energy demand of mechanical heating and ventilation systems with space heating and hot water provided by an air source heat pump. This  allows the carbon emissions associated with heating to reduce over the life of the building as the electrical grid decarbonizes, and, in combination with the carbon sequestering materials utilized in the construction, would allow the building to become carbon neutral."

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