Studio

Established in 2019, our in-house design practice, Studio Bio, was born out of a strong industry demand for architectural designers with a specialist knowledge of bio-based construction and technical detailing of hempcrete buildings.

Our Practice Lead, Alex Sparrow, heads up our growing team, designing building envelopes from a material-first perspective, to ensure that the implications of building with hempcrete are considered from the very first drawing.

Philosophy

Our studio exists to deliver high quality architectural designs for sustainable buildings using low-impact construction materials, products and methodologies. 

The philosophy of our practice is to design buildings that:

 
  • are beautiful;
  • cause no harm (to their occupants or the planet);
  • people want to inhabit;
  • achieve net-zero carbon within 15 years;
  • have predictable high-performance and low running costs;
  • and can be constructed by non-specialist contractors.

Speciality

Specialising in technical detailing with hempcrete and other biobased materials, our team is also highly skilled in concept design, proposing bold solutions within the parameters of strict construction requirements, budget restrictions and sustainability goals.
 
Our team’s design choices are guided by the ASBP’s Six Pillars of Sustainable Construction: Health and Well-being, Resource Efficiency, Whole-life Carbon, Ethics and Transparency, Technical Performance, and Social Value.

Our services

High quality architectural designs at all RIBA stages...

We are happy to provide a fees proposal for a range of design services at any RIBA stage of works, including for design consultancy services, specialised building performance modelling and technical detailing of hempcrete and/or other biobased elements, within your building.

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architectural design RIBA stages 1-7

We provide design services at each work stage, including Feasibility, Concept, Planning, Technical and Construction stage. We work on projects of all scales, from residential to commercial and public buildings. Our scope can cover basic layout design and feasibility, to full specification of bio-based construction build-ups and bespoke technical detailing.

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specification & modelling

Hygrothermal modelling allows us to properly understand the performance of the bio-based materials in your building. We offer a range of modelling services, to provide you with u-values, condensation risk analysis and thermal bridging psi-values. Using a dynamic thermal simulation is the best way to fully understand the performance of materials, like hempcrete, that contain both insulation and thermal mass.

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dynamic thermal modelling
This method of building performance modelling uses hourly, site-specific weather data to properly assess the contribution of heat stored within the thermal mass of the hempcrete, and its vapour permeability to the overall fabric performance. Its output is the specific performance of your building fabric, which usually informs significant cost savings via reducing the size of M&E systems within your building.
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cost consultancy

As hempcrete and other biobased materials are relatively new in the construction sector, one of the key problems from the outset is understanding the cost of using these approaches. Based on our many years in the industry, our team can develop a cost model for your project from Concept to Technical Design. Using hempcrete-specific building modelling can show the cost benefits that a hempcrete fabric brings to other aspects of the design. 

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energy assessment

Our specialist knowledge of hempcrete and other biobased construction underpins our provision of specialist building energy assessment services to projects that are using these innovative approaches. This might include, e.g. SAP assessment for a hempcrete new-build, retrofit assessment with specification for upgrade using vapour-open biobased materials, or thermal bridging (psi) calculations on your architect’s hempcrete details.

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detailing workshops
Online detailing workshops for architects and building designers have been a popular addition to our “pay-as-you-go” consultancy service. Conducted through a zoom meeting, our specialist consultants will review your draft technical drawings and provide feedback including live markup and sketching of new details, so that the client can be confident that all areas of their hempcrete envelope have robust detailing.

Our mission

We are committed to furthering the rapid expansion and scale-up of biobased low embodied carbon construction into both the domestic and commercial construction sectors as far as is possible, as quickly as possible.

Our projects

Selected case studies...

Below you can browse case studies of our previous design work.

Illingworths Barn

An extensive renovation of a 18th century Yorkshire stone barn. Natural materials have been prioritised throughout the design of this project. The pine king-post roof trusses have been left exposed in the existing building, and a new Douglas fir in-the-round column and glulam beam structure is used in the new glazed extension.

Team

Our team are all experienced in specifying bio-based and low-impact materials in construction envelopes, with a specialist expertise in hempcrete. Within our larger team at UK Hempcrete, we work collaboratively to share resources and knowledge.

Alex Sparrow

Practice Lead

Alex Sparrow

Practice Lead

Alex is recognised globally as a leading expert in the design of hempcrete and bio-based buildings. He co-authored The Hempcrete Book: Designing and building with hemp-lime, (2014 UIT/Green Books, Cambridge) and consults globally on the design of hempcrete buildings.

Jake Westmoreland

Part II Architectural Assistant

Jake Westmoreland

Part II Architectural Assistant

Recently graduated from the Centre for Alternative Technology, Jake’s final design project included the retrofit of a steel-frame building hempcrete and other bio-based materials.

Luke Nichols

Part II Architectural Assistant

Luke Nichols

Part II Architectural Assistant

Luke’s passion for Architecture was first ignited by sustainable construction. At 19 he was volunteering with the radical American architect Michael Reynolds. Luke did his masters in architecture at Nottingham University. Designing with natural materials was a logical next step.

Aidan Hogan

Part II Architectural Assistant & Passive House Designer

Aidan Hogan

Part II Architectural Assistant & Passive House Designer

Aidan has been designing with low-impact, bio-based materials since discovering hempcrete during his architectural studies. Aidan is a certified Passive House designer and has a Master’s in Sustainable Architecture.

Contact

We have a range of packages for each design stage to suit your project. Call us on 01629 343143 or email design@ukhempcrete.com to discuss how we can get involved with your project! Alternatively, you can fill out the form below to receive more information about our design services: