Founder Pier Taylor of Invisible Studio has recently transformed his autonomous house, Moonshine, located near Bath in the southwest of England. This award-winning project, recognized by British architectural magazines as the best in the “Small Homes” category in 2020, has undergone a substantial upgrade to enhance its environmental sustainability.
Explaining the motivation behind the reconstruction, Taylor reflects, “In a sense, I wanted to correct the mistakes of my youth. I designed the house two decades ago when I was a very young architect. Over the years, both my knowledge and advancements in technology and materials have evolved. Living with my family at Moonshine for quite some time, it became evident that a major overhaul was needed. There’s something gratifying about improving the world around us, and I believe that’s precisely what we’ve achieved.”
The Moonshine Residence, originally created in 2002 by converting a school building with gear walls into a spacious country house, underwent significant changes. Taylor restored the 18th-century building, added a wooden extension, and used materials sourced from the site, less than a kilometer away, as vehicles didn’t have access to the area at the time.
To enhance the estate’s environmental performance, Taylor focused on upgrading the cladding of the wooden extension. “I aimed to make the house as isolated and energy-efficient as possible, updating the external coating to Passivhaus standards developed by the Passive Home Institute (PHI),” Taylor explains. The changes over the years include wall insulation layers, plywood-filled large windows, high-quality glass replacements for windows and screens, and exterior cladding with black corrugated steel.
While the interior decoration mostly remained intact, advancements in glazing technology prompted the replacement of windows leading north and west. The original oak frame was preserved, and the kitchen underwent changes, receiving new cladding and stainless steel countertops to accommodate the altered floor height due to insulation.
Taylor is confident that the house’s characteristics have significantly improved since eliminating inefficient parts of the initial project while preserving the original plan’s uniqueness. “The sense of satisfaction from bringing all the elements of this house into harmony is excellent,” Taylor states. “Buildings evolve, adapt, and change, and this project reflects the contradictions we all face and strive to reconcile. Working within a limited budget, we focused on what was truly necessary.”
Discover the evolution of Moonshine Residence as it blends modern sustainability with the charm of its original design.