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Nyth Pren  |  Straw-bale modular House

​Rhoscefnhir, Anglesey, 2018

This new build eco-home is tucked down the end of gravel track on the edge of open-countryside. After a lifetime of service with Fire and Rescue, our client was looking for his next challenge, to build his home with his own bare hands. He discovered Ecococon Structurally Insulated Panel system (SIPs), insulated with straw. They take our building design and turn it into timber modules, that are then loaded onto trucks, craned onto a concrete raft foundation on site and assembled in a matter of days. 

The vision was to create a modest, sustainable two bedroom home, which took full advantage of the views over Snowdonia. We can’t quite believe that our client has managed to undertake the majority of the work himself, with occasional assistance from friends at key moments. He has no background in construction, but has applied himself to the task with passion and determination. The outcome is a house built to Passive House standards, which is a challenge even for experienced builders. The only consequence of undertaking the work himself and his meticulous attention to detail is the extra time it takes to complete the work. There have been more than a few winters in the caravan on the site.

Nyth Pren Evergreen Architects Front Cover Anglesey
Nyth Pren aerial FC Evergreen Architects-2.jpg
Nyth Pren Helicopter Evergreen Architects
Nyth Pren client door Evergreen Architects
Nyth Pren window Evergreen Architects
Nyth Pren strawbale timber cladding Evergreen Architects
Nyth Pren Aerial Front Elevation Evergreen Architects

We have worked alongside George Mikurcik, the technical designer for Ecococon in Wales. He is also an architect at Architype, the UK’s leading Passive House designers and has built his own straw bale home. As we had not worked with straw bale insulated SIPs before, his personal experience was invaluable throughout the design process. We learnt for example, that unlike other timber frame systems, a vapour barrier is not required on the interior side of the wall, as the system is fully breathable.

For our client, this has been a passion project and even though building it himself has taken more time, we don’t think he would have it any other way. He is already looking at building a separate annex for guests. One of our favourite touches is the welsh larch cladding which has been charred using the Japanese method of Shou Sugi Ban. Somehow this finish seems fitting for a fireman.

Nyth Pren charred cladding corner evergreen architects.jpg
Nyth Pren charred cladding vertical evergreen architects.jpg
Nyth Pren charred cladding closeup evergreen architects_edited.jpg
Nyth Pren Section - Evergreen Architects Anglesey.jpg
Nyth Pren Ecococon sketch Evergreen Architects
Nyth Pren straw bale modular house Evergreen Architects construction
Nyth Pren Balcony door two Evergreen Architects.jpg
Nyth Pren Straw Bale Modular House Evergreen Architects

Sustainability Credentials

  • Passive House design and construction

  • Optimised building orientation

  • Super-insulated: 400mm straw + 60mm woodfibre

  • Airtight

  • Sustainable materials: Locally sourced larch cladding

  • Triple glazing

  • Renewable energy: Air source heat pump + photovoltaic panels

  • Mechanical ventilation and heat recovery​

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