Hidden House

Green Belt Ingenuity

A Net-Zero home born from its very site context and owner’s love of nature

Hidden House More

What We Propose

This project was born from its site’s context and client brief to be as sustainable as possible. The project’s site is set close to the family home and animal sanctuary that they have lived in for almost twenty years.

Its use as a working yard for the clients’ machinery and as a storage space was a starting point with great promise within this Green Belt location, especially as it also had the best views of the Hertfordshire countryside.

Clever use of existing topography with its varied ground levels allowed us to embed the home within the natural terrain, maximising the earth as a natural insulator and capturing the magnificent vistas. This submerged design creates intrigue and architectural originality; without knowing the house is there one may well miss it. Its access is secret, by way of a hidden stairwell to its unique front door.

  • Location
    Ware, Hertfordshire
  • Size
    146 square metres
  • Status
    Planning Under Consideration
  • Cost

Despite the fact this project is predominantly subterranean, it has been designed to feel light, airy, and connected to its surrounding natural landscape. The drama unfolds as you walk through the front door and are instantly hit by the full height wall-to-wall glazed façade. This is the only façade seen, and connects with each main space, including the master bedroom’s en-suite through an internal glass screen, so one can soak in the bath and soak up the views. To enable a third bedroom to be accommodated, a courtyard was introduced that also ensures overheating and solar gain are part of this clever design.

The Net Zero sustainable design was achieved by our design team including Qoda, maximising the site’s credentials, bringing forward this ambitious sustainable home.

The design works hard with technology; from the heat bank integration (storing the energy created in the summer for winter) to the PVs located on the car port, and the rainwater harvesting tank to help with the water usage. The sustainable concrete structure works as a thermal mass, as well as forming the aesthetic of the property.

Hidden House is a ground-breaking piece of architecture in the district. This home proves that net zero is an attainable standard, and we hope it will inspire future homes like it.

 Hidden House Design Features

  • Net Zero – no need for external energy utilities
  • A courtyard to allow for natural cross ventilation and avoid overheating in the summer months
  • Fully glazed façade
  • Views throughout the home designed to maximise rural connectivity
  • Sustainable concrete structure acting as thermal mass and aesthetic

The Existing Yard