Concrete Elegance Autumn Lecture: Concrete inside and out

Our autumn lecture featured two award-winning projects presented by their designers. Each has been sensitively and creatively developed to respond to their own, but very different context. Concrete and energy efficiency are common themes, with expertly crafted exposed concrete structure on the inside and out. 

Outhouse: Chris Loyn, Loyn & Co Architects

The Outhouse is an exemplary concrete house on the Welsh borders, embedded into the south-facing slope of a hillside, overlooking the Wye Valley. Barely visible from the north this single-storey structure is hidden beneath a highly insulated, intensive, green meadow roof that extends the landscape over the largely open plan accommodation below, unifying the series of inside and outside spaces. The surfaces of the cast in situ concrete structure are left exposed, providing smooth, solid surroundings that have been described as feeling ‘warm and luxurious’.  The exposed structure also continues outside, framing views and sheltered courtyards. The house has been designed to be a highly sustainable, energy efficient dwelling incorporating sustainable technologies such as whole house ventilation with ground-to-air heat exchanger. On completion the project recorded airtightness better than that required for Passivhaus standards. The Outhouse is the first private home to make the RIBA Stirling Prize shortlist for 15 years.

Images: Outhouse by Loyn & Co Architects. Photography Charles Hosea.

New Academic Wing, Wolfson College, Oxford: Magdalena Cheda & Marion Brereton, Berman Guedes Stretton Architects with Steve Williams, Price & Myers 

The New Academic Wing to Wolfson College opened earlier this year and represents the completion of a two phase project incorporating a new entrance and auditorium, seminars rooms and offices, cafĂ© and library extension. The use of concrete is at the core of the development, using a palette of textures responding to the original buildings designed by Powell and Moya Architects. These include smooth in-situ concrete and its iconic Cornish blue-granite faced precast cladding. Concrete is also fundamental to the building’s low energy strategy, utilising its thermal mass with natural ventilation.


Images: New Academic Wing, Wolfson College, Oxford: Magdalena Cheda & Marion Brereton, Berman Guedes Stretton Architects. Photograpy Quintin lake Photography