Sun trap in Dunbar

Halvorsen Architects recently finished an extension to and remodelling of a 1970s house in Dunbar, East Lothian. A sun room, at the heart of the house, links the principal rooms and, with the removal of a wall, creates a large open plan kitchen-dining room. Light floods in through the wall-to-wall South-facing glazing, high-level East-facing clerestory windows and a large roof light. The clients call it their “Lovely Room” and in the depths of winter said this: “We love the Lovely Room! Despite the freezing weather outside the room is flooded with light and heat (currently 22 degrees from sunlight only). We’d feared the kitchen would feel like a dark cave but it has plenty of light too. We’re always delighted …

Whole tree structure – first in UK?

This is an abridged version of an article for the next issue of Association of Scottish Hardwood Sawmillers. If I had known how difficult this project was going to be, would I have still done it in the way I did? – absolutely! Genesis (J&T) Ltd., owner of a successful pre-school nursery chain in Midlothian asked me to design an extension to their Dalkeith branch. They chose my practice, Halvorsen Architects, having seen a timber treehouse we designed and built with a local P7 class. Genesis is run by a delightful and energetic family of Greek descent who I find easy to engage with due to our mutual love of the outdoors and aspirations for the children. Genesis have won many awards …

‘Upside-Down House’ Studio

Passivhaus

Some of you may be familiar with the work of renowned Scottish modernists Morris and Steedman. We were contacted by the new owners of their 1959 Sillitto House in Charterhall Road, Edinburgh, dubbed the ‘Upside-Down House’ because the bedrooms were placed on the ground floor and the living accommodation on the first floor to take advantage of the views and avoid the risk of being overshadowed by the hill behind. They asked us to build an office, library and guest suite. We tried various ways of extending the existing house in both a bold, modernist style at the front of the house and a more sensitive, discreet way at the back of the house. Neither was acceptable to the planners. …