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Pioneering-ecological-homebuilding

Holistic Haven

18.03.19

Pioneering ecological homebuilding for over 100 years, premier German developer Baufritz’s inspired approach to design has delivered the perfect future-proof home for one happy family in London. Luke Thomas pays them a visit 

Living in a home that constantly reminds you of being on holiday sounds like an impossible ask, but for one couple from Northwood in north-west London – their aspirations have been more than realised. A visit to the Grand Designs Show at London’s Excel for real estate investor Jayesh Patel and his wife Ameeta was to prove a seminal turning point for the pair. They met premier German builder Baufritz and were immediately taken with their eco-minded approach to pre-fabricated home build.

Explains Jayesh: “Baufritz's holistic construction concept - which combines aesthetics, design and ecology immediately convinced us this was the style of home we wanted to live in. Key aspects such as bespoke design, fixed-price, fixed time scale, and a ‘healthy’ eco-friendly energy efficient build ticked all the boxes. We visited their German factory and were convinced that this is how houses should be built in the 21st century.”

Spanning 5,640 square-feet and built over two-floors with an integral garage and stunning landscaped garden, 5-bedroom Patel House certainly makes a design statement. The couple’s love of Far Eastern architecture has shaped the overall look and layout with feature accents such as the unique lighting configuration throughout the home that seamlessly connects nature with individual living areas to create a soothing environment.

Additional design elements such as natural stone walls, infinity water features, internal courtyards and a bridge leading to a dedicated prayer room were all envisaged by the couple. A combination of pitch roofs interacting with a flat roof also blend skillfully into the overall design. The ivory render front of the house with narrow, floor-to-ceiling windows make a statement feature, yet standing in the beautiful park-like garden, the house reveals a completely different facet of its character. The rear, constructed almost entirely out of glass, exhibits a graceful, translucent appearance.

The open-plan ground floor meanwhile, boasts large windows maximising views of the nearby woodland, while upstairs balconies enjoy magnificent views of the garden. At the entrance, visitors eyes are immediately drawn to a statement fountain, above which a gallery opens out over two floors, allowing for a dramatic view to the sky, which floods the house in atmospheric light. The entrance also adjoins a generously proportioned living and dining area, while the kitchen connected by a recessed wall sports a statement aquarium.

Head up a half-turn staircase and you reach the spacious upper floor level home to five bedrooms, each with their own "bathing oasis". The master bedroom complete with dressing room and gallery are accessed via a separate staircase. The highlight of the upper floor is the meditation area, the placement of skylights in the roof ensuring a mystical play of light.

Energy-efficient features are in plentiful supply notably the high levels of insulation. The 37 cm thick wall is composed almost entirely of wood and dramatically reduces energy consumption. Triple-glazed windows, rainwater harvesting and solar water heating further add to the house’s eco credentials.

“Being air tight, the property has a fresh air replenishment system, a very efficient way of managing internal atmospherics,” explains Peter Cox of Breathe Architecture, Patel House’s lead architect. “All materials used are natural and free of toxic content. Timber is used for construction. It’s a renewable resource, meaning nature’s cycle is preserved in the build. Baufritz avoid the use of chemically treated building materials and make regular tests to ensure they’re not present.

Adds Cox: “With Patel House, Baufritz have shown once again that ecological responsibility and luxury design combined with the latest technology are in no way mutually exclusive.”

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