Gaia Architects

UK's first Brettstapel Zero Heating Active House

Plummerswood - Active House

Client: Private clients

Gaia Architects were commissioned by private clients to design a new dwelling on a site overlooking the River Tweed in the Scottish Borders.

Completed in October 2011 it is the first house to be constructed in the UK using the mass timber Brettstapel technique. www.brettstapel.org.uk


At Plummerswood account was taken of orientation to optimise daylight and solar gain. This, combined with super insulation and exemplary air-tightness levels, enabled it to achieve the internationally-recognised passive standard certification. Gaia, however, refer to the house as an active house as preference is given to client satisfaction and healthy indoor air quality through manual rather than automatic operation of the ventilation. The dwelling has been designed to last at least 100 years and take account of the requirements of future generations of the family.


The superstructure was prefabricated in Austria and shipped to the Borders. It was constructed to a six week timetable, during the harsh winter of 2010, on foundations built by local builders.


Gaia Architects promote healthy indoor climates through specification of benign and hygroscopic (moisture absorbing/resorbing) materials. The fit out was undertaken by a local builder, and the fixed furnishings were a design collaboration between Gaia Architects and the crafters, Real Wood Studios.


The building is the 2nd of Gaia's active Brettstapel buildings. It follows the brief writing, design and construction of the Acharacle School by Gaia in Scotland completed in 2009.


A two year Post Occupancy evaluation is currently being conducted by Gaia Research to compare and optimise the manual and automatic options in energy, air quality and comfort terms.


Gaia - proving that ecological can be beautiful.


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