Burh Becc, surrounded by and imitating nature, using principles of biophilia, is expected to have a significant positive impact on the mental and physical health of its occupants and guests.

Environmental features > Views and vistas The siting of Burh Becc captures the long distance view across a meadow to a long hedgerow and to the forest beyond.

Natural  shapes and forms > Arches, vaults, domes Drawing inspiration from the organic forms of Tuscan architecture, arched window frames soften the building’s expression and give it an organic and natural feel.

Natural  patterns and processes > Transitional spaces The progression to the home from the outside world begins with the broadly curved drive through the permaculture farm fields, passing through the “gate” at the natural opening in the hedgerow. The vista at that point is the long view past the home to the receding meadow and forest beyond. The broadly curved walking path through the courtyard fruit and herb gardens, past the featured 100-year-old Hawthorn tree, leads to the colonnade connecting the barn to the main home. The entry tower is the next transition into the home, with its arched doorway into the main east-west hallway.

Light and space > Natural light Besides wanting to capture the long vista to the southwest, our aim was to use as much glazing as possible on the south side of the home. Clerestory monitors bring yet more light deeper into the home.

Place-based relationships > Landscape orientation Three existing hedgerows naturally divide the site into permaculture farming to the east and natural rolling hills to the west. Placing the home at this location provides connection to both areas. This intersection point is also high on the west side of the north-south hedgerow, enhancing the potential for solar energy collection and site water management.

Evolved  human–nature relationships > Curiosity and enticement What could be more enticing than a tower? Besides providing for passive convective cooling, the tower serves as a beacon (hence the name Beacon Springs) and a source of curiosity and whimsy. Once inside the entry vestibule, one can look directly up, all the way to the top of the tower. The urge to climb to a high vantage point and have a look is intrinsic and natural and human. The ship’s ladder beckons! And then one passes from the soaring tower space through a short passageway to the house itself, generating curiosity for what lies beyond, like the cozy entrance to a child’s fort.

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