Thorne Wyness Architects achieve AECB Silver standard for Ulva Ferry community housing.

Project provides two three-bedroom homes on the Isle of Mull designed for young families.

Ulva Ferry is a small village located in the National Scenic area along the North West coast of Mull. Just six years ago, the community found itself under threat of losing its primary school due to long-term population decline brought about by the lack of affordable housing options for young people.

This project, a joint venture between the Ulva School Community Association (USCA) and Mull and Iona Community Trust (MICT) seeks to sustain the School roll and the local community by providing two, three-bedroom homes allocated via a points system which gave priority to young families.

Our brief in consultation with the community was to cater for the very specific needs of a rural family, such as provision for home working, increased storage needs, and the difficulties associated with fuel poverty.

With the latter in mind, the houses were designed using fabric first, Passive House principles. A Cross laminated timber structure allows generous internal volumes, great levels of airtightness and continuous insulation resulting in negative PSI values. This, along with modest north, east and west glazing and compact services means that the houses achieve AECB Silver certification.

Heating for the houses is provided by a single storage heater in the main living space, along with a heated towel rail in the bathroom and hot water is provided by solar thermal panels with an electrical back-up in the winter.

Emphasis is placed on the kitchen, dining and living space as the heart of family life, and a strong connection is made between the living spaces, the garden, and the landscape beyond.

The homes have more traditional, private north facing elevations, as seen from the road, and large areas of triple glazing to the south. Cladding is sourced from a vernacular palette of Scottish larch and corrugated metal and takes president from the colours of the sea.

This is a project that is very close to Thorne Wyness as we know many members of the community at Ulva Ferry personally.

The Housing Project has been funded by the Scottish Land Fund, Argyll & Bute Council, the Trusthouse Charitable Foundation, the Quaker Housing Trust, the Scottish Government’s Rural Housing Fund, Triodos Bank, USCA, a significant anonymous bequest and over £22,500 in local onations through a high-profile crowdfunding campaign. Invaluable support has been provided by West Highland  Housing Association, Rural Housing Scotland, Community Land Scotland and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

You can view this project on the Low Energy Building Database here.