C21 House Development

RIBA Design Competition | Reputable Volume House Developer
June 2016

A concept design for a flexible ‘future-proof’ house that can be adapted to suit a wide range of social and geographic contexts.

The key concept for this design is the creative use of light and space to make the home feel spacious even while achieving plot efficiency through a compact floor-plan. This is done through large well-placed windows, connection to outside space, an open-plan living area and the optional potential to easily and cost-effectively expand into the roof space to give further accommodation and flexibility.

The layout and materials of the house are fairly traditional, but contemporary features such as the distinct windows bring character and interest to the house, distinguishing it from others in the area while not being different enough to appear incongruous. The house features a contemporary dormer accompanying the stairwell, a pop-out window, a corner window and a Juliet balcony.

A balance of individuality and sensitivity is central to this design. As well as being available as a terraced, detached or semi-detached home, there are seven possible options for the exterior appearance depending on the geographic context of the development. The material palette includes brick or render for the ground floor, timber cladding, slate tiles, render or zinc for the first floor and either slate or zinc for the roof finish. These materials and their associated aesthetic can be varied according to the architectural vernacular of the local area, allowing a volume build to be sensitive to its geographic and urban context. Alternatively, a limited palette of three wall materials could also be alternated within one development to add interest, diversity and character.

The house design can be adapted to suit people of different life-stages, such as young professionals with a house-share, a family or a mature couple which could convert one bedroom into a home office, studio or library. Accompanying this flexibility of use over the building’s life, the design takes future environmental sustainability into account by using natural materials such as FSC timber, natural insulation, an air-tight building fabric, solar panels, low-flow taps and the potential for passive solar, depending on the orientation.

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