Mark Waghorn studied architecture at Cambridge University and the University of North London. He worked for seven years at DGA Architects becoming Associate in 2003. During this time he was involved in a wide variety of projects, including private and commercial properties and developments, urban design and schools.
While at DGA, Mark was project architect for Christ Church Primary School in Chelsea, which received the Environment Award from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and was showcased at architecture exhibitions and on television programmes as an example of an outstanding modernization of a Victorian school.
From 2006 to 2010 Mark co-directed Waghorn Gwynne Architects. At this practice Mark continued developing his passion for sustainability in architecture, producing groundbreaking designs for carbon-neutral houses, some of which featured in architectural magazines as well as on the BBC.
In 2010 Mark founded Mark Waghorn Architects to further strengthen and apply his design philosophy based on the use of innovative architectural approaches to the design of sustainable buildings. He has a particular interest in designing for self-sufficient lifestyles, whereby the localisation of one’s environmental footprint encourages responsible use of available resources.
The overriding aspiration for this research project is to develop a modular system for self-build timber framed construction using locally sourced materials in order to allow the delivery of affordable homes that are low impact in construction and in the lifestyles they accommodate.
As we enter an era of increasing energy costs, economic pressures will require increased localisation and on a domestic level, the reduction of energy demand for space-heating will become an urgent priority. This research shows that small-scale modular timber frame buildings that achieve very high standards of energy efficiency will be able to address many of the problems faced by individuals and communities, whilst allowing them the flexibility to adapt them to their particular context and needs over time. Therefore the development of a system capable of delivering such buildings, either as dwellings or for other purposes, is the key ambition for this project.
As part of the research, Mark will be conducting a study of the Passivhaus mode and will explore options for applying this standard in innovative ways to reduce costs and to allow for low impact lifestyles. One way to reduce costs is to minimise the size of the Passivhaus core, supplementing it with other accommodation that is carefully designed for particular functions, but that does not need the level of investment needed for the core. This idea of zoning for economy and efficiency has informed much of my design work for some years. In addition, if house design can be conceived as products, or assemblies of standardised components, this approach has the potential to reduce the design costs through economies of scale.
The need to increase localisation of one’s environmental and resource footprint will require significant changes to attitudes about development control. For historic reasons, there are strong barriers to innovative rural solutions to today’s environmental problems, but recent changes to planning policy are creating exciting opportunities to change this.
The Welsh Government has recognised Low Impact Development as due to play a key role in its aspiration for achieving a One Planet nation within a generation. It is hoped that this PhD will help it achieve this ambitious target by providing practical proposals that draw on the considerable expertise of the BRE and Cardiff University in the fields of environmental science and building technology.