Designed by: Skene Catling de la Peña
Challenge: How can local waste products be used to heat and power urban spaces?
Project description: Skene Catling de la Peña’s Focus House, whose roof terrace is designed as an allotment garden, is part of the UK’s Cube Haus project, for which various architects been have commissioned to design pre-fabricated, modular homes for small and awkward urban sites.
Focus House consolidates all the ‘complicated’ elements of a residential building into a central, warm core or ‘focus’* (*Latin for ‘fire’), that includes fireplaces (in the form of energy-efficient, masonry stoves), cooking, services and circulation. It is surrounded by a simple outer skin that adapts to the irregularities of the site. Pockets can be created between the adapted skin and the site boundary to create small gardens or courtyard spaces. The stove is designed to store and burn Wonderfuel Coffee Logs by Biobean, an award-winning clean technology company that transforms waste coffee grounds from a network of urban cafes into fuel, providing a sustainable alternative to conventional fuels.
The Focus is a highly efficient, engineered design that rethinks the tradition of fire. In addition to being a staircase, fireplace, hob and oven, it produces radiant heat in winter and cooling in summer, supplies hot water and converts some of the heat generated into electricity.
Project phase: In planning on several London sites
Location: Multiple sites, initially in London