The Crow’s Nest, Dorset


AR Design Studio
Innovative solutions ensure The Crow’s Nest in Dorset is an energy-efficient, sustainable home. Pic credit:  

Award-winning sustainable building compliance after a natural disaster 

A sustainable, energy-efficient approach was used to future-proof a home in a World Heritage Site

The challenge

Midway through the planning process, a stunning holiday home on Dorset’s Jurassic coast was ripped in half by a landslide. Challenges included:
  • A design to protect the home against future landslides
  • Creation of a sustainable, energy-efficient building
  • A tight space
  • Ensuring the new home fits in with its surroundings – a wood to the back and uninterrupted views across the English Channel to the front.

The solution

A fabric-first approach ensured an energy-efficient, sustainable building design. Solutions included:
  • Ingenious structural design: four linked timber-frame pods built on a floating structural frame lie on top of dwarf walls. This acts as an adjustable raft in case of future land movement.
  • Improved fabric energy efficiency: to meet Building Regulations Part L, the SAP Calculations carried out by Darren Evans showed an improvement over emissions targets and a nearly 9.5% improvement on fabric energy efficiency targets.
  • Improved energy performance: an efficient building envelope with high levels of insulation throughout was central to the energy performance of the building
  • A wood burner to reduce the energy demand on the mains gas heating
  • Low energy lighting to further improve the energy efficiency of the home
  • Orientating the home’s glazing to maximise solar gains in winter while reducing overheating risk and cooling demand in summer.


The Crow’s Nest won the Architectural Design / Residential Architecture category of The Architecture MasterPrize. It is now a sustainable, safe and secure building in a rugged and treacherous part of the world.
“As expected, Darren Evans was easy to work with and quickly resolved issues as they arose by tweaking our environmental and sustainable solutions. It’s why we use them on every project.”
Tom Ford, architectural designer
AR Design Studio

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