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Islay Passivhaus wins planning

Planning has recently been approved for this new build detached house, aiming for Passivhaus, on a split-level site on the island of Islay. The new family home has been designed for a young couple with a new family, one of whom was originally from Islay, to move back to the island.

Islay Passivhaus


The decision to strive for a low energy home originated with the client who visited PHT member Paper Igloo’s Ostro Passivhaus during the 2017 UK Passivhaus Open Days in order to gain a better understanding of the Passivhaus standard – this was when the architect and client first met.

The design allows for some degree of flexibility in achieving a life/work balance with a home working space on the upper floor. Circulation has deliberately been kept open and bright to bring southern light into the heart of the dwelling, whilst allowing all primary rooms to take advantage of the panoramic views from the east, past south, to the west side of the dwelling.


Islay Passivhaus

The proposed home is clad in a combination of charred black timber and untreated larch, with feature elements in Cor-ten steel that will weather to develop a deep russet coloured patina. These materials reflect this unusual site tucked behind a small embankment, set back from the road frontage, and conjure ideas of industrial shed type structures spread throughout the island, as well as emulating the local colours of black peat and orange bracken.


Key Stats

Location: Lotts, Isle of Islay

Build start date: Late Summer 2019

TFA: 143m2

Construction: Timber Frame

Occupancy: 3 people

Islay Passivhaus


The planning department insist that the dwelling to be orientated towards the road at the western edge of the site despite the narrowing of the site at the road access point, and the considerably less favorable orientation for a Passivhaus dwelling. A masterplan was required to demonstrate that the unusual placement of the proposed dwelling would not prejudice potential for future development of adjacent land in a designated ‘Potential Development Area’


Islay Passivhaus elevations Islay Passivhaus elevations


The challenging planning process also overcame the split-level across the site. This has been addressed through the use of a plinth of gabion baskets which form the under-build on the lower level, and which allow the majority of the dwelling to be at the height of the upper level so as to allow direct access to the garden from the ground floor rooms, whilst limiting unnecessary shading from the rising ground levels towards the south of the site.


Key Team

Client: Private Client

ArchitectPaper Igloo Ltd.

Contractor: Eden Insulation


All images unless otherwise stated ©Paper Igloo Ltd.


Further Information

Paper Igloo

2019 summer UK Passivhaus Open Days

Ostro Passivhaus




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30th April 2019

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