Solearth provides architectural services on private homes, commercial and public buildings and planning (masterplan) or landscape projects. Future proofing and sustainability are at the heart of everything we do and our designs are much loved by user and client alike. Treat yourself – get in touch !
Full Service Professional Architecture;
- New Building Design
- Project Feasibility Studies
- Living Buildings, nZEBs
- Creative Renovation of Existing Buildings – Eco-Renew
- Commercial Buildings
- Buildings for Not for Profit Clients
URBAN AND COMMUNITY DESIGN
- Urban Design incorporating sustainability principles, efficiency and phased development
- Green Community (feasibility and masterplan) design
- Hourly Consultancy- Clients Hourly services for Home Owners and Builders
- Architect to Architect Consultancy and CPD
- Overshadowing, sunlight and daylight analysis
- Lectures and Public Speaking
- EU Horizon 2020 RTD Partners
Full Architectural Services
Solearth provides full professional architectural services on private homes, community and public buildings and masterplan/ landscape projects. Each project is looked at individually and a bespoke design, that emerges from the unique opportunities offered by the site, as well as analysis of the client’s brief and budget, along with our sustainability strategies (a given on any design we do), is delivered as standard.
- Outline Design (and Feasibility/ Masterplanning where relevant)
- Developed Design (to Planning Application)
- Detail Design (Fire and Disability Certificate Applications, Building Regulations compliance and Production Information)
- Tendering and Contract Negotiation.
- Contact Administration (including PSDP and Acredited Certifier services) to Completion
- Commissioning,Certification and Post-occupancy evaluation
Solearth Architecture now offers our combined expertise on the creative renewal of older buildings and protected structures, and practical cost-effective sustainable design in one package.
It takes care, experience and creativity to get the best out of an existing building, whether it’s a careful restoration of a protected structure or a creative transformation of a less precious but still noble older building.
Protected structures are rightly defended by strong legislation that carries with it more procedural and technical challenges. Approached methodically, holistic and integrated solutions that unlock hidden potentials and highlight ancient qualities can be employed with stunning results. Majestic entrances, high ceilings, crafted decorations, quality finishes and large windows as well as a generosity of circulation spaces are only some of the assets that protected structures typically offer and to which we are glad to pay homage in our design proposals.
Existing buildings from barn to school, and communities of such buildings, offer more potential for innovative designs. They often offer many points of departure from which to generate ideas and almost always have a robustness that means unusual contrasts and harmonies can emerge by mixing old and new.
The most significant challenge in the reuse of old buildings is to thermally upgrade without impacting on their heritage value. All buildings, but especially older ones, are, in effect, ecosystems; a dynamic interaction of heat, light, moisture and microrganism. Adjusting the existing balance between air, moisture and heat is a requisite of any project but must be handled with knowledge and consideration. Much research shows that maximising one aspect over a more balanced approach across a range of aspects causes problems to appear elsewhere in a structure. Many of the recommended materials and strategies to appropriately and safely upgrade older buildngs are the same as those used in natural /green construction and Solearth have no end of experience in their uses.
Under our Hourly service we are available to homeowners and designers on a short term, once-off basis as a resource to assist your decisions about your present home or one you are thinking of buying. We can help evaluate the house’s potential for improvements be they architectural, spatial, functional or in terms of energy and sustainability performance.
You can engage us to do as much or as little work as you wish on flexible terms.
Typical tasks tend to include;
- Accompany you to view a property prior to puchase and give an intial impression of its strengths and weaknesses architecturally and environmentally (insulation, passive solar, systems etc).
- Provide a written summary of the above, or /and accompany with sketches that indicate possible improvements both design wise (room layouts, connection to garden / view etc.) and technical (e.g. insulation) for your consideration
- Produce sketches of design improvements or of detail improvements
- Produce 3d computer visualisations of potential design improvements to help you sell a house
The service costs €150 for the first consultation (approximately 90 minutes) and €90/hour thereafte -plus VATNB The above services are not equivalent to the outputs of the early design stages where we have been retained to provide full design services and where we can thus be much more thorough and holistic. Services while being clinet and site specific (where required and where sufficient detail is provided) are otherwise of a general and qualitive, as opposed to technical nature, and not equivalent in any manner to full design servies in particular around advise on regulations, certification etc.
Architect to Architect Consultancy
Solearth are available to provide support or consultancy to your in-house designers or to join your design team for proposals, bids and ongoing projects. Our 15 years experience in completing real world green designs on a diverse range of projects from eco-community to mixed-use city centre buildings, and from visitor centre to green factory, is now available to you on both a complete service or hour to hour consultancy basis.
Not For Profit and Charity Group Clients
Solearth offers a unique expertise to assist charity organisations in creating buildings that suit their individual needs.
We know how difficult it is to move from vision to realisation of a building and how many unknowns and obstacles there seem to be. We know you are not and don’t wish to become experts in building procurement, but simply want a great building in which to provide your unique service. As well as designing the building, we offer a way through the many condundrums associated with finding a site, meeting planners, writing a brief or vision statement, figuring out budgets, fundraising and grant applications, and we can advise and assist.
Over the years we’ve worked with religious, educational, environmental and other groups and created very special places in which they teach, learn, care, host and educate their audience or members.
We often work with our clients long before the actual design process begins, selecting and evaluating sites, writing briefs, setting budgets and even designing fundraising strategies. We provide gentle, understandable advice and protect your interests throughout the design and construction process. We will remain at hand while you get to know your new building and learn how to use it to its optimum.
Every project is unique, so get in touch.
Living Buildings and Passiv Haus – Solearth’s Sustainable Design Services
Living buildings are next generation sustainable buildings that are beautiful, equitable and meet all their own energy and water needs, use no toxic materials and meet a host of other stringent environmental and social criteria, making them as close to the buildings nature would wish to have as possible.
Solearth is immersed in the ILFI, hosts of the Living Building Challenge, and Solearth’s partners have been instrumental in bringing this inspiring and challenging standard to Ireland. See Living Building Challenge – Ireland. Brian O Brien is one of a handful of professionals accredited as a Living Building designer and the only one in Europe.
We provide design leadership and architectural design services in the creation of living buildings, campuses or communities, anywhere from idea to completion.
PASSIV HAUS + PLUS
Solearth are not certified Passiv Haus designers. We are, however, dedicated to the goal of creating buildings that meet the performance levels of the Passiv Haus standard but that are enhanced by using natural materials and means of ventilation.
We call this Passiv Haus Plus.
Near to Zero Energy Builldings are the incoming standard for buildings across Europe as a result of the EUs Energy Performance of Buildings Directive EPBD (recast). All new public buildings in Europe should meet nZEB stadard by 2016 and refurbishments by 2020.
Solearth can quickly assemble a dedicated team to design and deliver your nZEB in Ireland or further afield. We have the experience, resources and and contacts to realise these challenging buildings while creating wonderful places to work and live in -and doing so on a budget.
Quantified Accurate Impact Analysis; Sun, Light, Shadow. Ireland
Solearth under principal Brian T O Brien now offer a comprehensive solar, shadow and daylight impact evaluation service for medium and large scale developments.
Brian is uniquely qualified to provide this service based on his 20+ years of experience designing buildings, lecturing on sustainable architecture and carrying out research on European funded projects. Brians grounding in solar geometry, seeded during his Masters in Berkeley and his experience working at UCDs Energy Research Group has equipped him with a deep understanding of the interrelationships of building, sky, sun and light both in terms of improved experience for users and in the context of standards, norms and legislation pertaining in Ireland and the UK.
Solearth can provide not just before and after 3d models with momentary shadow imagery but fully interpreted sunpath diagrams underpinned by expert assessment of the before and after experience of user and neighbour and the impact on the context and environment.
We can both quantify the monthly, daily and hourly % change in solar or daylight access and examine a particular proposed developments affect on the amenity and useability of room, garden, or activity.
We can set out all of this out within the framework of the accepted BRE and EN standards (using before and after scenarios) under the headings of;
- room dimensions, view of the sky, illumination levels etc
- sunlight (solar access / overshadowing)
- daylight (skylight, and ERC)
- interior daylight factors and illumination levels
- window/ opening design simulations and comparisons
- annual probable sunlight hours (view of the sun)
- daily, seasonal and hourly impacts in detail
- assessment as to the impacts on amenity and usability where affected
- improvements and enhancements
Our analysis is highly objective and rigorous and we provide detailed evaluation reports and recommendations structured to suit planning decision, applications or appeals etc..
Contact us here