TP Bennett’s Haus on the Ridge is inspired by a vintage camera

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In this exclusive video produced by Dezeen for architectural firm TP Bennett, the studio’s chief director explains how the latest housing projects were designed to meet the energy standards of passive houses.


Designed by studio principal director Doug Smith and project architect Sam Clark, the home in Kent, England, is owned by Smith and his family.

The design of this building, called Haus on the Ridge, was inspired by the Brownie camera designed by Eastman Kodak in the early 20th century.

British architectural firm TP Bennett designed a Kent home inspired by a vintage Brownie camera.Photo by Edmund Sumner

The understated house, which mimics the structure of the Brownie camera, features two sturdy wings adjacent to a central glazed element like a lens with views of the nearby valley.

“We wanted to make this transparent centerpiece that looks straight like a lens,” Smith said in a video.

The 10-meter-wide living space has a large central living room and kitchen, with four bedrooms, a bathroom, a utility room, a plant room, and a corridor all in the wing.

Ridge house by TP Bennett
The house incorporates two sturdy wings adjacent to a central glazed element that acts as the lens of the house, similar to a Brownie camera.Photo by Edmund Sumner

The project was built to meet the Passive House standard, a set of high performance building standards that began in Germany in the late 1980s.

Buildings that meet Passivhaus standards are highly insulated and use little or no heating or cooling technology, making them energy efficient and sustainable.

TP Bennett describes the building as “airtight” and uses rock wool quilt insulation and triple glazing throughout the construction.

Ridge house by TP Bennett
The house is built according to the passive house standard, which is a set of high performance building standards that are very energy efficient and sustainable.Photo by Edmund Sumner

“It’s like wrapping a cozy tea around the building,” Smith explained.

According to Smith, you can avoid wasting energy by building it to meet the standards of a passive house.

“We consume a lot of energy, and the concept of a passive house allows us to reduce that consumption and not waste it,” he said. “From now on, I think that will be a big consideration for new homes.”

Ridge house by TP Bennett
Sliding shutters made of Siberian larix wood provide shade all day long.Photo by Edmund Sumner

Sliding shutters made of slatted Siberian larix wood provide shade during the day and protect from elements at night.

Pull the shutters and you’ll see that the exposed concrete walls of the building continue throughout the interior.

“I’ve always loved concrete,” Smith said.

“When it comes to making concrete, it’s not particularly eco-friendly, but once you get there, it lasts very long, and once the building is heated, the concrete retains its heat, so it’s very sustainable. “

Ridge house by TP Bennett
The external staircase on the ground floor leads to the roof terrace and garden.Photo by Edmund Sumner

A spiral staircase mounted on the exterior wall of the building leads to a roof terrace and garden, and a prefabricated pod that acts as a studio.

The sewing studio and spare bedroom are contained in two stilt pods accessible from the main building through an elevated walkway.

Ridge house by TP Bennett
The stilt-mounted external pods serve as a spare bedroom and sewing room.Photo by Edmund Sumner

TP Bennett is a British architectural firm with offices in London and Manchester. Previously, he designed Eighty Fen, an office building on the Square Mile in London.

The company was also behind the design of Windmill Green, a 1970s office building in Manchester, and was refurbished to create a “super-sustainable” multipurpose office.

Photo and video footage from Edmund Sumner, Tom Dalton, Dahl Paulter, Oscar Older Show.

Details of the partnership

This video was produced by Dezeen for TP Bennett as part of a partnership. Learn more about Dezeen’s partnership content here.

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