Devon Ore


A family wanted to build a sustainable house for two young children and their parents at a plot of land in Devon (United Kingdom). It needed to incorporate:

  • environmental principles

  • the father's love of music

  • the mother's alternative therapy practice

  • a playground

  • a playroom for rainy days

  • a study/office

  • a spare bedroom with en-suite


Conceptual design: 

A sustainable and multi-level family house. The minimum environmental impact was to be achieved by using principles layered in "Earthship' houses by environmental pioneer Mike Reynolds, mixed with a more modern design look. The house was to be south facing with most of north facing ground floor walls buried in the ground. The foundations and north walls where to be made out of two layers of old tires packed with dirt to achieve large thermal mass. As the property is located in a rural area we decided to use some renewable technologies for energy:

  • wind turbines 

  • solar thermal panels

  • wood pallet stove


To reduce water usage to a minimum and reduce the impact of the wastewater we incorporated:

  • rainwater harvesting system with 2 large tanks buried underground

  • gray water treatment with indoor and outdoor planting 'living machines'. The cleaned gray water is then stored in the sump and recycled for toilet flushing. 

  • black water is directed to septic tank before overflowing to reed-bed for treatment 


The house adopts a zoning envelope (designated for specific activities) in its form which allows exploration of different views of the landscape. The 'floating' rooms vary in their height and level which increases the number of intersections and allows the family to enjoy the charms of the surrounding scenery. The facade is natural stone made out of two contrasting patinas, giving the impression the house is part of the landscape.  

Devon Ore House, UK
Status - concept design
Entry Proposed
Motorcourt and North Facade
Bird Eye View