Architectural technology BCs - Sustainable House Design

Level 5 Design Project

Part I

Design a sustainable house to output key drawings sets including plans, elevations, sections and junction details.

Tools: Autodesk Revit

Part II

Using variations of the house model, design a site layout for a sustainable village located by the Digbeth Branch canal in Birmingham.

  • For Advanced Design and Surveying Skills 2
  • Date Feb – May 2018


The task:

To design a sustainable family home and develop a site layout for a sustainable village.

The house design:

A spacious three bedroom family home, featuring an open space living area leading to a galley kitchen and sliding patio doors to the rare garden.

The village:

The development site is located alongside the Digbeth Branch canal in Birmingham. Brown site with previous industrial use to be transformed into a healthy and family friendly environemnt.

The design process:

The house was modeled in Revit. A mass model was created for the basic building form from extrusions and subtractions using the Revit massing environment. In order to make future interior layout changes easy, the building form was designed to be parametric. Whenever an interior change necessitated altering the building size or shape, the mass model was updated and reloaded in the project file.

The Revit’s massing environment is a useful tool when creating and stitching the external cladding panels which can then be accurately quantified. For these, I created pattern-based curtain panels with reporting parameters to be able to quantify the their final number and size. I found that it is best to create the cladding once the building form and shape are finalised to avoid unnecessary reworking.

Revit Mass model

Design Features

Low Energy Design:

In order to meet the stringent Passive House criteria, the windows on the north facade are limited to tall and narrow shapes which best utilise winter solar gain. The primary, south facade includes large glazed areas with external solar shading (yet to be modelled) and panel infills with aerogel insulation for best thermal performance. All windows and curtain wall panels are triple glazed with a G-Value > 0.5 to best utilise the benefits of the solar radiation passing through the glazing. To reduce heat gain during the summer season and prevent overheating, the glazing uses spectrally selective coatings which increase the light transmittance of the windows whilst reflecting infrared radiation. Low E coating is not recommended – although it limits the amount of thermal radiation passing through the glazing, it also has an negative impact on daylight.

The building is constructed of lightweight timber frame packed with PIR insulation. As lightweight construction introduces issues such as higher noise transmission, an additional layer of fibrous insulation is added which is best suited for noise reduction.The additional layer is as also necessary to achieve low U-Values of the external envelope.

The lightweight structure is craned on an 600mm insulated GGBS raft foundation minimising the amount of embodied carbon of the build.

Architectural features include continuous glass reinforced concrete cladding contrasted with exterior render, framed tapered walls at narrow ends, open timber clad warm roof. An additional floor level in Bedroom 2 introduces a cushioned reading area overlooking the back garden through a large single pane glazed unit.


North Elevation

South Elevation

West Elevation

Floor Plans

Ground Floor Plan

First Floor Plan

Sustainable village site layout