PassivPod began life as an entry for the 2014 Sunday Times and British Homes EcoHaus competition. The brief was to design an ecological holiday accommodation option for a large lakeside development. The proposed application has changed and expanded since then, yet the concept design has remained almost unchanged.
The iconic pod shape of PassivPod was the first design element to take shape, sparked by the practical considerations of thermal efficiency: objects with the smallest surface area in relation to volume retain heat best – which is important for a low-energy eco building. With this in mind we chose an elliptical shape which is highly thermally efficient, aesthetically pleasing and reminiscent of organic forms, thus helping the structure blend into whichever natural environment it is placed.
The front facade features ovaliod asymmetric openings to provide a dynamic contemporary feel while flooding the interior living space with natural light and helping to heat the space via passive solar gain. The balcony and over-hang of the roof also provide shading during summer.
Over the last two years the design has changed little, except for the adaptation of the rear doorway and roof to enhance the smooth pod shape. What has evolved significantly is the application of PassivPod. It’s still ideally suited to be an ecological holiday accommodation, but we are now adapting the classic PassivPod design for use as a biophilic classroom space for schools needing additional teaching space and who want to commission an interesting, inspiring and sustainable addition to their campus.
We also see PassivPod having a wealth of other potential applications in a rural setting, such as visitors’ centres, activity centres, small village halls, offices or workshops. While our existing market research suggests PassivPod is a fantastic ecological holiday accommodation precisely because of its unusual untraditional nature, it could also have a use as a primary home for a niche audience who are looking for something different.
The most recent version of the PassivPod design is our garden office pod, which we designed after receiving feedback from clients that a smaller garden-sized pod would be useful. The garden pod can be used as an office, reading room, yoga or meditation space or music area.
We have a strong concept and technical design and have gained popular support and positive feedback from industry professionals and our target market. Business consultant Clive Bonny came on board in January 2016 to help Mark Pellant and the Koru Architects team bring this to life.
What is clear is that we see the future of PassivPod as interlinked with rural communities and nature-based eco-tourism. Our long-term vision is that PassivPods become a common sight dotted around the countryside of Britain and elsewhere – whether as ecological holiday accommodation or for education, leisure or civic uses.
As detailed in our mission statement, PassivPod links to our broader vision for a sustainable society. We believe all kinds of buildings should be comfortable, delightful and sustainable – offering utility and beauty within the limits of the planet.
We are now in the process of seeking investment in order to build a prototype which will act as a showroom and educational tool to showcase PassivPod’s design and technology.
You can read our PassivPod Q&A here.