SBT’s Made in Sussex this month is Koru Architects, an architecture practise based in Hove that specialises in sustainable low-carbon design

The business was set up in 2000, when director Mark Pellant returned from three years of travelling determined to put his environmental principles into action and make a positive impact on the built environment. His goal: to design sustainable, inspiring buildings which reduce carbon emissions and promote natural materials. The Koru Architects aesthetic is thoroughly contemporary, with influences from Scandinavian and Japanese architectural styles. Spacious open-plan living areas with large south-facing windows characterise many of their residential designs.

Architectural Assistant Christina Vakarelova joined in 2014 to assist with technical drawings, specification research and concept designs. In 2015 Mark started working with Clive Bonny, a business consultant who continues to help Mark drive the small business to growth and success. In the spring of 2016 the team doubled with the employment of Tegan Tallullah as a Marketing Officer to build a strong online presence and attract leads, and Issi Rousseva as a Project Architect with a focus on quality management systems, research and networking. Their employment coincided with the launch of a new website to drive the business into a new phase of growth.

Koru Architects has worked on a mix of residential and commercial projects, with initially a heavier focus on residential. They are now pushing to extend their commercial portfolio (with a cafe in Hove and workshops in Brighton currently under construction) and diversify into new sectors. They now plan to branch out into education, small healthcare facilities and the leisure market.

An exciting flagship project is the development of the ‘PassivPod’ – a luxury zero-carbon holiday home with a rounded ‘pod-like’ shape. The idea originated as an entry to the 2014 Sunday Times Eco-Haus Competition and is currently moving from concept to technical design, with the help of the Green Growth Platform innovation specialists. Koru Architects are soon to launch a funding campaign to finance the construction of a full-size prototype, which will then be perfected before production kicks off. The PassivPod offers a rejuvenating retreat to enjoy nature and outdoor activities from a comfortable and inspiring base that takes ‘glamping’ to a whole new level. The 4-bedroom holiday home meets passivhaus standards, is off-grid (except for drinking water), has exceptionally low running costs and is made entirely of natural materials. It also boasts luxury features such as ensuite bathrooms, balcony, gazebo, hot-tub, barbecue and boat jetty. It illustrates that sustainable design does not need to mean skimping on beauty, comfort or functionality.

On his vision for the business, Director Mark Pellant said: “This year, I want us to expand sustainably to enable us to take on more diverse projects and offer our services to new clients and new sectors. Clients are attracted to our focus on sustainability and our design philosophy.

“Sustainable design is so important for people’s health and wellbeing, and of course for the planet. We all need to do our bit to tackle climate change and buildings can be a big part of that.”

Koru logo 2016