Architecture: House 19 by Jestico+Whiles

This sustainably designed home is shortlisted for the RIBA House of the Year award. Jestico+Whiles has carefully designed a very modern home that sits comfortably in the conservation area of an old English market town.

19 Mill Lane, Amersham

House 19 represents a very careful blend of old and new: the latest in sustainable thinking, materials and technology designed with a conscious consideration of the building’s historical context and the importance of its location. Traditional forms and local materials have been integrated into the design alongside key elements of modern sustainable design: photovoltaic panels, earth-tube ventilation systems and ground-source heat pumps.

19 Mill Lane, AmershamWhile the plan for House 19 seems simple, it sets the scene for a range of sophisticated design details that are vital if not always visible. Jestico+Whiles’ intention was “to create a house of exceptional quality while bringing together the most comprehensive range of passive and active energy-saving features in a well considered, thoughtful assembly of light-filled spaces”.​

Low running and maintenance costs and a significantly reduced carbon footprint were a given and the house aims to be carbon neutral.

The windows use passive solar design to provide light and warmth as well as framing the beautiful views of the Chiltern Hills. The glazing, which exceeds current building regulation U-values, delivers generous levels of daylight in the internal areas, which helps save energy.

At the heart of the house is a double-height atrium that acts as a vent during the summer to allow for night-time cooling. This is combined with high-level vents that purge warm air and even out temperature fluctuations.

The choice of construction materials combined with high levels of fabric insulation minimise heat loss. However, specifying sustainable materials did not mean sacrificing character. The house is firmly rooted in the history of the area through the use of dark-stained vertical-board cedar cladding, luminescent flint, dark zinc roofing and accents of corten steel.

House 19 will make a minimal impact on the environment while providing easy and efficient living thanks to an intelligent design that respects and complements its location.

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