Straw-build Herefordshire Passivhaus – one of my favourite case studies!

black coloured timber clad wall with shaded window and pot plants in front
Detail of the charred cedar facade showing lowered sunshade for summer comfort. Photo: Juraj Mikurcik

Juraj Mikurcik’s beautiful little self-build Passivhaus is a house that I can totally imagine living in myself, and absolutely loving.

Juraj is a Passivhaus architect at pioneering firm Architype. In this modest single-storey house (home for Juraj, his wife Joyce, and their irrepressible spaniel Midge) they have combined all the technical know-how that makes Passivhaus buildings comfortable and healthy, winter and summer, with a very personal use of sustainable materials and beautiful hand-crafted finishes.

The structure is made with a compressed-straw  offsite-panel-construction system from Ecococoon. Components are built to exact size in Ecococoon’s Lithuanian factory, and shipped to the UK for very rapid on-site assembly.

Outside the house is clad in charred local cedar –Juraj did all the charring by hand with a blow-torch. Inside is a polished concrete floor – the aggregate sparkles with colour, revealed after many days of diligent labour (again, by Juraj) with a grinding machine. And the walls are plastered with an unfired clay, skilfully applied with the expert help of Roman, a craftsman Juraj met when home for a holiday in Slovakia. The texture of the plaster – mixed with a little chopped straw to echo the structure beneath – is quite magical.

If you want to know more, and find out just how well the house performs, then there is a detailed case study here in Passive House Plus magazine.