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Scope of Build: Demolition of a derelict single-storey building, and replacement with a two-storey café and creative space for Goldfinch Create and Play Ltd.

Goldfinch's goal was to create a simple, practical studio space for running creative courses for children, and a complementary family café, for up to 60 people.

At the end of the day art materials would be tidied away to allow the studio space to be used for other activities such as yoga classes. Goldfinch required the building to achieve the Passivhaus Classic standard, which meant high levels of insulation, airtightness, and filtered ventilation.

Outcome: A bright and welcoming place for children and parents to make art (messily) and learn about nature together. The built-in softplay area, and joyful murals and window decals by Katy Welsh draw in passers-by for good reason. The grain of plywood joinery provides a friendly, soft look. Large windows and rooflights bring in plenty of natural daylight, and the ground floor sliding windows allow the café to open onto the street in warmer weather.

The building is timber-framed, with thick layers of cellulose (plant fibre), timber aluminium-clad triple-glazed windows and an extremely high air tightness rating. These things combine to keep the building naturally warm in winter and cool in summer.

A single
air source heat pump is enough to supply the building's heating and hot water. 21 solar panels and a 7kW battery offset much of the grid electricity required to run the building (and most importantly help power the coffee machine). A mechanical ventilation system with heat recovery (MVHR) provides fresh, filtered air while extracting stale air. In winter the MVHR 'captures' and reuses most of the extracted air's heat.
Cost per m²: £4,600 (including fees)

Design Time: 12 months
Build Time: 13 months

Contractor: Earthwise Construction

Photography: Zed Photo & Super Funky Penguin

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