Our Profile - Solearth Ecological Architecture.
Solearth Ecological Architecture, founded in 1998, is a professional architecture practice at the forefront of innovative sustainable design in Ireland. Solearth are members of the RIAI and RIBA with offices in central Dublin. We have projects throughout Ireland and Northern Ireland and are available to work on projects anywhere.
Solearth Ltd is a collaborative partnership between Brian O’Brien and Mike Haslam, two architects who are passionate about ecology and architecture. They believe that a concern for nature and sustainability - as the key influencers of architectural design - offers the opportunity to improve lives, provide a professional, future-proofed service to clients and can advance architecture itself.
Environmental sustainability is the core of our philosophy and our success since 1998 is illustrated, not just in peer recognition through awards but also, and more importantly, through user and client satisfaction.
Our view of sustainability is that it is both deep (energy performance and Co2 emissions) and broad (resourceful in terms of materials, water, habitat, wildlife, transport, food, waste etc) and that basing our design on the opportunities and challenges that approaching a design in this way offers, brings lasting value, delight and healthiness to our clients, users and the public.
Solearth use the principles of bioclimatic design and passive solar architecture, to create unique solutions for our clients. On some projects we strive to create Living Buildings and meet the performance levels of the Passiv / Passive House standard. We can also provide LEED and BREEAM compliant buildings.
Over the years we have realised buidings that are exemplary and ground breaking in many of the ways that are the very definition of ecological design and sustainability;
- creation of Irelands premier eco village - the pedestrian orientated, landscape rooted, community developed sustainbility nexus that is Cloughjordan,
- design of perhaps Ireland first multi storey timber frame mixed use, building (made of natural materials) in the city centre,
- innovation to construct a long span industrial workplace using green wood/ roundpole timbers,
- creating of a respite centre known for its cosiness, greeness and openness to those with disabilities- even though sited on the edge of the wild Atlantic,
- numerous private houses that are delightful and deeply satisfying to our clients
- weaving a large new visitor centre between the the footprints of several historic buildngs in a Northern Ireland lakeside wildlife centre, among many others.
- creative conversions and restorations of historic and protected buildngs in a sustainable, natural and healthful way
Teche is the Greek for both technique and technology and along the way we have become adept at employing both to reduce or eliminate our buildings impacts; techniques that design out the need for heating systems with super insulation, ventilation /supply air windows, shading and thermal mass, along with material palletes that impove healthiness and remove toxins and humidity from the indoor air. Where they are unavoidable, we've learned how best to integrate key technologies like biomass (at many scales), heat pumps, solar thermal and PV into our projects elegantly. Other approaches and systems that are critical to broadening sustainabilty benefits such as rainwater harvesting (for even high level uses), wastewater recovery and on site treatment (using reed beds, solid seperation, advanced compost and living machines) as well as edible / productive landcapes and green roofs are second nature to us also. Our buildings routinely have U values that surpass building regulation by 100%, acheive ultra low air permeability rates and are A rated in energy usage terms. Our immediate ambition is to create buildings that are resource (water and energy) neutral in use, and doing it in away that advances the aesthetics of green buildings.
Both partners are sustainable architects active in teaching architecture and sustainability - at university and professional level – and act as sustainable design consultants to other professionals.