The Chestnut House

Competition to design a passivhaus compatible garden.

Renders from Bere Architects

BRE Innovation Park


with Bere Architects


The garden works not only for the people who will call it home, but for the locality in which it’s built; to be a place of nurturing for the land and the people, animals and plants.

For the land, the way water is used in the site is important and it’s slowed down, using it in as many ways as possible until it is released back into the ground. The materials used are either recycled or locally sourced. Materials that come from the place are not only more environmentally secure in terms of energy in travel time, but also in coming from the place add a local texture to the general build.

As a practice we believe that our planting design is first rooted in native species with a particular attention paid to local planting types or styles. This is then balanced with a need to appeal to birds, bees and butterflies and to work to increase the biodiversity of any site.

There is also always the potential to use areas of the garden for vegetable production and to make provision for the possibility of compost heaps. This approach ensures that anything used works hard, not only visually and seasonally but adds value for all that are free to use and enjoy the garden.

The term Passivhaus refers to an advanced low energy construction standard for buildings providing excellent health and comfort conditions being both cool in summer and warm in winter with minimal heating or cooling requirements. Passivhaus buildings are designed for long life and high performance.