Butterfly Roof House on the Dart

This striking new build property on the river Dart included the most modern design and construction techniques. After demolishing two semi-detached 1930s houses the three-storey dwelling was built with a steel portal frame sat on concrete retaining walls set into the landscape. With a spectacular roof design that reflects the river valley, this highly sustainable building collects rainwater for re-use, whilst solar thermal and photovoltaic panels, and an air source heat pump provide underfloor heating and hot water. A unique and highly efficient whole house Mechanical Ventilation and Heat Recovery unit returns energy directly to the hot water storage system.

The steep site created multiple issues for construction but architecturally allowed for only a single storey to be visible from the entry fa├žade. The entrance is aligned with the main staircase, forming an ‘architectural promenade’ through the house which gives clients a sweeping view of the sky, river and landscape.

The house is constructed with a mixture of traditional blockwork to the lower ground structure, whilst the upper structure is to be constructed from highly insulated timber frame. Built into the sloping topography, this technically challenging build works in harmony with the landscape, as if growing from it, rather than sitting on it.


  • The steep site created access and handling issues
  • Installing a highly innovative heating system that recovers heat to the hot water system
  • Complex modern build with high expectations


  • Integrated heating system
  • Bright airy home with large glazed areas that offered fantastic views of the river


Site manager: Simon Curling

Designer: Guilfoyle Associates

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