Robert Staveley’s Eco-Hall
Mickley Hall in North Yorkshire is the feat of 5 years of fighting for planning permission and 2 ½ building work. After 7 ½ years Robert Staveley’s Eco-hall can now stand as a triumph to his willpower and as a challenge to others creating Eco-houses. Mickley Hall was recently commended by the 2011 Georgian Group Architectural Awards. Robert Staveley and his wife Lynne strove to keep Mickley Hall as beautiful and Georgian as possible using the work of architect Robert Adam as inspiration. 1770 was the year they wished their house to emulate and they have done a magnificent job of recreating its architecture and stylistic details. Aspects of Adam’s Lansdowne House have been copied in the entrance hall and oval staircase and Sion House was the inspiration for the first floor frieze and cornice.
Eco technology and materials have been used throughout the project. The hall is constructed from a hempcrete surrounding a timber frame. Hempcrete is a mixture of the inner core of hemp plants and lime. The material is incredibly strong and much less brittle than concrete so it does not need expansion joints. Additional hempcrete is carbon negative as the hemp absorbs CO2 from the surrounding atmosphere over time. For those who are concerned about household pests, such as mice, hempcrete is extremely effective at keeping them out as it is extremely bad for their digestive system. The hall is square in shape which reduces outside wall space and heat loss. A heat recovery system recycles warm air and there is a ground source heat pump for hot water and underfloor heating. All pipes are out of sight underground to be in keeping with the Georgian feel of the house. All the windows are double glazed but in a mixture of styles: Georgian, Venetian and Wyatt. They are not all quite what they seem. Many of the windows only appear on the outside of the house as they did not fit in with the decor inside. Clever use of Matt black foil fools everyone according to Robert Staveley and as an added bonus it keeps the heat in. Mickley Hall’s heating bills were just £740 last winter compared to £6000 for Robert Staveley’s North Stainley Hall, which was built by his family in 1516.
Mickley Hall is certainly a masterpiece of vision and practicality with its Eco credentials. The lesson we can learn from Robert Staveley’s Eco-hall is that ecologically sound residencies do not have to follow prescribed rules of architecture and style. One can tailor an Eco-house to their personal style and space. If you have the will and the imagination you can create beautiful buildings that will stand the test of time and keep the environment going too.
Author Corinne Kemp
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