Home of 2030 Design Competition
Homes for sustainable communities.
RIBA – The Home of 2030 competition is a cross Government initiative which seeks to develop a home that will help tackle the key challenges facing our society. It focuses on solving multiple issues: to generate new typologies and products that are age friendly and inclusive, address health and wellbeing but at the same time harness new and evolving techniques and technologies for a low carbon and energy efficient future. The competition is focused on deliverability, cost-effectiveness and design quality and addressing gaps that there may be in the market. For full information on the competition brief please visit the RIBA website at the following link- https://www.ribacompetitions.com/homeof2030/
We are excited to share our thinking and design response for this competition as detailed below.
When you think about housing what comes to mind? Is it tower blocks, leafy suburban terraces, volume housebuilder estates, bungalows, tenements?
There are also perennial structural issues within the market – a shortage of houses for young families while “empty nest” elderly people occupy large houses disinclined to downsize. The reasons for this unwillingness are many – attachment to a location or place, concern about loss of amenity, fear of isolation. As housing tends to be built in clusters of similar types, for most people if, or rather when, circumstances change this means a move somewhere else. But what if you don’t want to move?
Mixed-tenure, amenity-rich developments build long-term community relationships. Our competition proposals aim to design a neighbourhood where people don’t want to or have to move. If people can change accommodation without having to move, and live in places with character and with welcoming open spaces it enables them to take more of a stake in their community and feel connected to their neighbours.
The proposal promotes growth and togetherness – “Growing Together” – at a time when we may feel our most isolated.
We have developed a 5m housing module that generates 8 different floor layouts which, when combined in different ways can provide a variety of house types from 1 bedroom flats to 4-bedroom townhouses over 3 or 4 storeys, with balconies, terraces and gardens. All to be organised around communal space.
These house types allow for a future conversion of the ground floor into a standalone flat suitable for an elderly person or couple, or to alternative business uses to activate the street and allow people to work from home. So, in the home of 2030 an elderly couple could choose to convert their ground floor to a flat, let or sell the upper floors and hold on to their garden and neighbourhood, or live independently but as a family unit.
Age Friendly and Inclusive Living
We seek to replicate the friendly, familiar low-rise, high density urban grain of streets and squares by using new urban block containing 5m and 6m wide modular units. The 5m units are used to generate townhouses forming two sides of a typical block, with the 6m units used to generate flats on the other two sides.
Placemaking: The differences in scale between the flats and townhouses creates a variety in elevation and promotes a hierarchy of streets, with the arcaded flats defining main streets and front-gardened townhouses defining side streets or mews- streets. The latter could be configured as home-zones with shared surfaces and traffic calming promoting pedestrian and cycling use.
Adaptability: External stairs on the street frontage allows any 5m module house type to be changed in the future so that the ground floor could become an independent flat for the elderly – so a 3 storey 3 bedroom house could become a flat with a maisonette above, or a maisonette within a 4 storey block could become two flats.
Outdoor Space: The project employs a variety of outdoor spaces from private to public. All dwellings, whether flats or houses have dedicated private outdoor spaces, either as gardens, balconies and roof terraces. At the centre of each block is a communal Garden, this space provides a green heart to the scheme and is a safe attractive place for residents to support social connectivity and wellbeing.
Contextual Response: The block could be built at a variety of heights to suit local contexts. The vertical rhythm of the narrow units enhanced by the projecting balcony bays recalls the traditional proportions of urban terraces.
Street level Variety: We hope residents would want to live and work locally. Ground floor units could be set up as workshops, café’s, and small studios. Units could be combined with adjacent ground floor townhouse units to provide other community facilities such as small care units/nurseries/medical centres or larger shops. Even larger community facilities could be provided by combining units on the first floor – with facilities such as care homes integrated within the block.
Low Environmental Impact
Low Carbon Impact: The proposal is designed around a modular system of prefabricated regular units which can be manufactured off site either as complete modules or flat-packed as a panel system utilising the latest in modern methods of construction. The regular rectangular module is ideally suited for prefabrication either as ‘flat-packed’ or volume built with CLT or sustainably sourced timber framed construction, helping us to reduce waste and source sustainably
It enables high levels of airtightness and, with the row-house format, low exposed areas of wall and roof which would help in achieving passivhaus or gold-standard energy rating. Balconies and roof terraces assist in solar shading – enabling useful solar gains in spring and autumn. The flat roof would also enable optimum orientation of solar panels progressing the prospect of building a carbon neutral or even carbon positive development.
Responsibility and efficient material use: The use of a modular, regular system maximises standardisation and reduces waste. The use of CLT timber as the main construction material uses a sustainable, natural resource.
Low embodied Carbon in Supply chain: One advantage of pursuing a low-rise strategy is that it lends itself to a more sustainable timber construction, either as closed/open panel timber frame construction or CLT. We would propose CLT for use in walls/upper floors and roof, responsibly sourced to minimise environmental impact and support the circular economy.
Minimal Energy Demand: The housing modules will be designed to meet Passivhaus performance standards: The simple terraced repetitive rectangular volumes have small areas of exposed wall/window reducing heat loss and the regular geometries produce simple junctions assisting in achieving airtightness. MVHR systems will be is utilised to ensuring balancing of heat throughout the dwelling and ensuring good levels of air quality.
Passivhaus units would require little or no space heating as the dwellings retain heat from solar and indoor gains. With the phasing out of natural gas for heating/hot water due in 2025 the home of 2030 would require electric hot-water boilers and some small electric heating provision for extreme weather conditions. Solar Thermal panels could provide low-carbon water heating to townhouses during the warmer months of the year.
Low Carbon Technologies: The development is designed to accommodate both Solar Thermal and Solar PV arrays in flat roof areas, which enable optimal orientation to maximise efficiency.
Rainwater harvesting will become more important in reducing water and energy usage in the house of 2030. Underground tanks would collect rainwater from roofs for greywater use within townhouses for flushing of toilets.
Digital Solutions: The home of 2030 will interact more with technology than ever before. While appliances and heating/ventilation controls will become ‘smarter’ through connection to the internet, the house itself will also become ‘smart’ through a series of sensors built-in to the fabric monitoring everything from occupancy levels to air quality, smoke and temperature. This would replace the current piecemeal approach and allow holistic understanding of the buildings performance – to help close the gap between design and actual energy performance.