Meloy Architects has completed a contextually sensitive and highly sustainable rural dwelling in East Sussex


Meloy Architects

Designed by Meloy Architects, Hill House Passivhaus is located within the South Downs National Park, alongside an ancient drove road used to carry fresh fish from Brighton to Lewes. The single-storey, L-shaped dwelling is intended to evoke the memory of two dilapidated sheds that previously occupied the site.


Orientated east-west, the open-plan living space benefits from a southerly aspect and full-height sliding glazing to the rear garden. The bedrooms incorporate east-facing windows, maximising morning light and providing a private aspect onto an adjacent wooded copse. An efficiently planned space set between the living and sleeping zones contains all the services.

Ground floor plan; section; detail section

The house is believed to be the first fully certified Passivhaus in Lewes and the wider SDNP. It provides exceptional thermal performance and airtightness, while requiring little additional energy for heating. Hot water is generated using an air source heat pump, and additional space heating is provided by a sealed wood burning stove.

A restrained palate of materials is designed to reference the woodland setting. Aligned vertically and left to weather naturally, western red cedar cladding wraps the external walls and roof. the timber cladding is designed to contextualise the dwelling amongst the surrounding trees. An expressed concrete base grounds the structure in the landscape and contrasts visually and texturally with the timber cladding above.

Internally a thermally-separated polished concrete floor acts as a heat sink to mitigate temperature fluctuations. Evoking modern agricultural detailing, galvanised steel is used for the entrance ramp and to frame the triple-glazed windows.

The external landscaping is handled with subtlety. The existing trees have been retained and traditional Sussex bullock hedging planted to define the site boundaries. A cedar-clad shed delineates the boundary between drive and garden.

Additional Images


Meloy Architects
Structural engineer
Reaction Engineers
Services engineer
Alan Clarke
Passivhaus consultant
APE Architecture & Design

Ironmongery, doors 
Solar Vision
External blinds