Isle of Architecture: I Love this Building because…

Featuring Sustainable Architecture on the Isle of Man: Thie Slieau Whallian

Featuring Sustainable Architecture on the Isle of Man

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Several weeks ago I was contacted by the team running a year-long project called the Isle of Architecture. They’d come across my posts featuring interesting places to visit on the island and asked if I’d like to be featured in their launch campaign: I love this Building because…

I was interested in getting involved but also in helping to discover and bring a spotlight to low-impact and sustainable building on the Isle of Man.

I love this building because…

‘I love this building because…’ is about voicing the reasons why we love architecture and to get everyone thinking about their own favourite building.


There are so many reasons why you could love a building. You could have a special memory attached to it, or a tale or history that makes it interesting. For me, it was important for a building to reflect values that fall in line with Lovely Greens. A building that could help create a better and low-impact life for everyone who interacts with it.

Featuring Sustainable Architecture on the Isle of Man: Thie Slieau Whallian

DEFA HQ is located in an award winning green build

I discussed a few ideas with the team but the building I chose in the end is Thie Slieau Whallian, the headquarters of DEFA – watch a guided tour of the building here.

Designed by Karen Horncastle, of Horncastle Thomas, the building features many design features that reduce consumption of electricity, heating fuel, and water, while creating a beautiful working space for those lucky enough to work there.

Featuring Sustainable Architecture on the Isle of Man: Thie Slieau Whallian

Green design features

The building has won awards including the 2012 Green Apple Built Environment and Architectural Heritage Award as well as receiving the highest rating possible under BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method). The building features:

  • Window ventilation that automatically opens and closes based on the building’s temperature.
  • A green roof to help insulate the building’s extension
  • Use of natural light to supplement interior lighting
  • Heating fueled by waste woodchips from the government’s mill
  • Water-less urinals
  • Responsibly sourced timber as building material

Featuring Sustainable Architecture on the Isle of Man: Thie Slieau Whallian

Series on Sustainable Design on the Isle of Man

The video interview with me, along with others including local architects and a historian, were played at the project’s launch event. You can watch all of them on this website. The features are being shared online and are going to be used to help generate the public’s interest in their own favourite buildings.

Excitingly, we’re going to continue looking at green builds and sustainable architecture by first visiting a local Hobbit House and Celtic Roundhouse. After that a regular feature could run throughout the course of the project. So stay tuned to find out more.


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