Periscope House/

Studio Bark

United Kingdom

Project Details



Norfolk / United Kingdom



Year (Design/Construction):

- / 2014

Area (Net/Gross):

- / -
Operational Carbon emissions

Operational Carbon emissions (B6) kgCO2e/m2/y:

Embodied Carbon emissions

Embodied Carbon emissions (A1-A3) kgCO2e/m2:

  • Passive design to avoid summer solar gain allowing winter sun and natural ventilation strategy.
  • Firewood sourced from the waste timber of nurse trees from the neighbouring woodlands
  • Western Red Cedar used for the cladding was sourced from the local woodlands only 500m away
  • Green roof provides thermal comfort and enhances biodiversity.

Periscope House is the story of a harmonious and collaborative client-architect relationship. We were able to create an affordable, environmentally exceptional home that provided the family with permanence, comfort, and a connection to nature.

The house sits in a beautiful, isolated location in rural Norfolk, and was designed to celebrate its surroundings as well as to benefit from the elements to heat the house. The two timber clad periscopic balconies frame views to the River Tud valley, as well as acting as fixed passive solar shading angled to respond directly to summer and winter sun. This ensures that the hot summer sun is blocked, whereas the cooler winter sun enters the thermal envelope with very little obstruction.

Additional summer shading is provided by a locally sourced Amelanchier tree, which also adapts with the seasons. The same approach is applied internally, using low impact and season specific heating and cooling methods; for example a high-level openable rooflight, and a substantial GGBS concrete trombé wall and stair.

Efficient occupant controlled natural ventilation is served through both plan and window design. Consequently, the high ceilings and generous open courtyard ensure the plan depth is minimised. This is accompanied with low level openable windows positioned to make the most of prevailing winds.

On the coldest winter days, the building is heated with a small, efficient log gasification boiler, powered by seasoned firewood from the neighbouring woodlands. The firewood is sourced from the waste timber of nurse trees, planted to encourage the growth of final crop timber. All the Western Red Cedar used for the cladding was sourced from the local woodlands only 500m away and milled by a mobile saw mill. The planks were stacked ‘in stick’ in adjacent redundant farm buildings before being processed, graded and installed by a team of architecture students from UEL.

The landscaping was crafted entirely using site spoil unearthed during excavation. This hugely reduced Periscope House’s impact on the UK’s landfill sites, whilst also reducing transport footprints.



  • Temper Studio – Furniture
  • Anna Glover – Textiles & Interiors
  • David Sinclair – Architectural Visualisations

Photography: Studio Bark


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