Manor Farm Ecological Extension

Transition by Design, Oxford, 2018


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This project is an elegant ecological extension to a Georgian manor house.

The design harmonises natural materials and low-energy design within the challenges of a listed building.

The brief was for a new entry sequence to the main house, inclusive of a new kitchen, dining room, garden room and utility spaces. The historical approach to the building had become obscured following the sale of land in the ‘90s, resulting in an oblique and unsatisfactory approach via a modern and utilitarian lean-to.

The new design redefines the entry sequence with a new axis linking the formal front garden and the rear kitchen garden.

The blade-like roof was designed almost impossibly thin, with stressed skin panels and a concealed gutter, to create a sense of lightness against the existing building. The slender new roofline subtly appears as a continuation of the existing string course. The construction also confounds the idea that super-insulated natural construction results in cumbersome architecture. The natural materials: reclaimed brick and oak, lime plasters, spruce, and polished concrete were left unadorned, creating a contrasting balance of textures.

The very high thermal comfort is delivered at near zero-carbon and effectively nests a high-performance new-build within a historical solid masonry building. Elements included: a thermal-bridge free thermal envelope, triple glazed floor-to-ceiling glazing, a ground source heat pump, PV array and mechanical ventilation and heat recovery.

The south-facing building optimises solar gains, allowing light and warmth to pour into the garden room yet protected in excess summer heat by the oversailing roof. The glazed west façade is respectfully set back in line with the 1750s building while embracing the formal front garden. The new 45º axis between the front and rear gardens is expressed in the brick coursing and orientation of the timber ceiling.


  • Begun: Nov 2017
  • Completed: Aug 2018
  • Floor area: 105m2
  • Sector: Residential
  • Total cost: £225,000
  • Funding: Private
  • Tender date: Oct 2017
  • Procurement: JCT Minor Works Contract 2016
  • CO2 Emissions: 9.5kg/m2/year
  • Address: Manor Farm, 6 Wootton Village, Oxford, OX1 5LJ, United Kingdom

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