Text description provided by the architects. Moonshine is a house built in 1786 near Bath, UK, that was originally a schoolhouse for a large country house nearby, and extended originally in 2002 by Invisible Studio as one of the practice’s first buildings. Practice principal Piers Taylor has lived in the house with his family since 2002, and in the intervening period built various other projects including the practice’s studio in the 100 acre woodland that surrounds the house and which Taylor manages alongside practice.
Taylor self built the original extension having to carry everything 600 metres along a steep woodland track before the house had vehicular access. The original house won the AJ Small Projects award soon after it was completed. Other than Taylor desired to banish the demons of his youth, and move on from the house he had designed as a young architect, in the intervening years, much has changed in terms of knowledge insulation and airtightness, and with a desire to future proof the house and make it as low energy as possible, Taylor has recently retrofitted the house to achieve exceptional levels of insulation, airtightness and autonomy.
This involved leaving the structural timber frame but removing and replacing floors, walls, roof and glazing. The house was extensively thermally modelled, and glazing reduced to avoid heat loss. A biomass boiler fed from waste timber from the surrounding woodland provides heat and hot water when needed, and there is electric infloor heating linked to off-grid photovoltaics on the roof with a battery back up.