This Sustainable Family Home Blends Into The U.K.'s Natural Habitat

A new property from RX Architects provides a new sustainable family home that's next to Rye Harbour Natural Reserve at East Sussex. The building provides great insulation from its timber frame and solar panels run the hot water and heating needs.


May 16 2019, Updated 10:25 a.m. ET

A sustainable family home has been built next to one of the most iconic conservation sites in Britain. The Chalfont Home, developed by RX Architects, provides amazing views of the Rye Harbour Natural Reserve while also blending in to its habitat. The structure provides perfect natural lighting and solar panels for renewable power.

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Instead of refurbishing an existing structure on the property, RX Architects opted to create a new building that was able to connect with the natural reserve. It takes a similar form to the Mary Stanford Lifeboat building that across from its location and is constructed with pre-cast shingle-based concrete.

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The building is made entirely of larch cladding, which is a renewable and biodegradable external finish. This will eventually transition the gray stain color on the outside into a silver shade over time. Cladding continues inside of the home, which is fused together with the shading of the stone terrazzo floor.

What makes the home renewable is the Timber frame that keeps it very insulated, and this is further supported with double and triple-glazed doors and windows. These windows are strategically placed to not only provide great views of the natural reserve, but to provide maximum lighting in the home.

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Solar thermal panels are connected to an air-source heat pump, which can provide up to three times more heat than the electricity it uses. There’s enough power from the panels to provide all hot water and heating needs. Wastewater is treated through an on-site BioDisc treatment plant that is both efficient and environmentally safe.

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The Rye Harbour Natural Reserve is located in East Sussex and spreads out across 1,150 acres. Established in 1970, it’s been a treasured reserve for many years and was awarded a “favorite natural reserve” in 2016 by LandLove Magazine. Management was transferred over to Sussex Wildlife Trust in 2011, and birds and the habitat are both protected.

RX Architects have also been responsible for other structures at the reserve. Another residential property is the Druim on Winchelsea Beach. They remodeled an unfinished home by giving it more sleeping areas, but opening up the kitchen, living room, and dining areas. By enhancing these rooms, this provides beautiful views to the reserve, and in turn, added better natural lighting.

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