Gail Halvorsen

Edinburgh Passivhaus

Our client has moved into her new, four-bedroom Passivhaus in central Edinburgh. It was quite a journey, through Covid and escalating material costs, but we got there and the client is delighted. In fact we have achieved a  Scottish Building Standards ‘Gold’ sustainability label it. The Scottish Building Standards Sustainability labelling is a broader endorsement

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Building Futures in Rural Scotland

Mass housing developments are the scourge of the countryside. They’re often built without any infrastructure and there has typically been no obligation for developers to consider the wider context of “placemaking”. NPF4’s emphasis on placemaking could change this, but will the framework turn out to be another well-intentioned policy that doesn’t really filter down? Building

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Breathing new life into East Neuk’s heritage

Retrofitting our existing housing stock to make it fit for 21st century living is a win-win. Though not cheap, it is an investment in the long-term for people and planet. As clients and governments become more ecologically aware, enthusiasm for sustainable retrofit of our existing buildings is growing. Having carried out several historic and sustainable

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Who should we hang?

The nineteenth century prime minister Benjamin Disraeli proposed publicly hanging architects for designing boring buildings.  I found this out from a recent article in Building which, to commemorate its 180th anniversary, is running a series of archive articles. The one on Disraeli’s tongue-in-cheek proposal was published on 3 April, 1847. Ironically, some of the buildings

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Forest school nursery

Halvorsen Architects was recently commissioned to design a forest school nursery, which will have a ‘playful’ natural water-treatment system at its heart. While we have done several ecological nursery buildings, this is our first forest school nursery. Possibly worryingly, I find it easy to put myself in the mind of a five-year-old, especially when playing with water, in

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New Passivhaus on site

Another Passivhaus building designed by Halvorsen Architects is currently under construction in western Edinburgh. Edinburgh City Council granted planning permission for the new four-bedroom, two-storey contemporary house in 2020. Due to material cost inflation and supply-chain disruptions caused by Brexit, the Covid-19 pandemic, and other global crises, we unfortunately needed to embark on various cost-cutting

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Wooden Roof

I was entranced by this simple but elegant roof from London-based Tsuruta Architects. Responding to a north facing and sunken site the architect has designed an exquisite timber dia-grid roof whose shadows dance around the modest extension. Using traditional timber connections for the thin Accoya beams the architect has avoided the need for any glued or

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Extension, The Grange Edinburgh

Studio and remodelling house and garden, The Grange, Edinburgh

client  private engineers  CRA Ltd. contract value  £160,000 area new build 95 sq. m.; total remodelled area  450 sq. m. The client had outgrown their semi-detached Georgian bungalow in the heart of the Grange Conservation Area in Edinburgh. They needed new detached accommodation and remodelling of the existing house, front and back gardens. A 67m2 self-contained

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A New Vision for Land Use in Scotland: 6 Conversations

With one of my other hats on I am an events organiser for The Scottish Ecological Design Association (SEDA). Since SEDA members are predominantly architects most of our events are building related. More recently I decided to put more emphasis on non-architectural events. Next week A New Vision for Land Use in Scotland: 6 Conversations

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Strange times

Covid-19 update As the coronavirus outbreak continues, Halvorsen Architects’ thoughts are with our customers and friends at this challenging time. We recognise that you have many priorities, but we want you to know that we are still operating. The safety and well-being of our community is our highest priority right now and we are closely following

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Grange House Transformed

Halvorsen Architects have just finished major works to a house in the Grange, a conservation area on Edinburgh’s south side which was first developed as an early suburb from the 1820s.  The clients were keen to expand their Georgian villa in as sustainable as possible. We considered several measures, including renewable heating, insulation and airtightness. With

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