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From barn to haus: understanding the potential of alternative approaches to deliver more/better homes

Green, Edmund 2018. From barn to haus: understanding the potential of alternative approaches to deliver more/better homes.

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This paper presents a series of interconnected pieces of research within a single narrative that connects each piece of work back to a focussed research agenda. The research agenda described by this paper is directed at developing an understanding of ways in which alternative approaches to housing delivery could increase our capacity to build more homes, and improve opportunities for making better homes when their impact is considered holistically. The research includes: • A design concept based on a perceived need for high quality, affordable, context-appropriate housing for rural locations (submitted for an international competition). • Development of the concept into a detailed design proposal suited to contractor-led projects (ie. a professional constructor project managing the project) – approach A. • Development of the concept into a detailed design proposal suited to true self-build (ie. Constructed by the occupier, who is not a professional constructor) – approach B. • Construction of a 4-dwelling housing scheme, delivered by a main contractor (including a comparison of two constructional variations – project A, ongoing). • Construction of a prototype (for project B). • Construction of a single dwelling by a true self-builder (project B). Section 2 of this paper introduces the context to the research, identifying three factors that were central to the development of the research: the UK-wide incentives for greater production of homes from the self- and custom-build sectors, the long term drive for greater update of MMC (modern methods of construction) and their perceived benefits, and the need for alternative housing models more suited to rural and edge-of-settlement locations. Section 3 explains the development of the Barnhaus concept, an approach for delivering homes in rural locations that sets out to produce high quality, affordable houses by utilising materials and techniques more familiar in rural contexts, in order to produce dwellings more suited to such locations. Section 3 also describes how the concept won an international design competition and was subsequently disseminated internationally. Section 4 describes the thinking behind the development of two parallel constructional approaches – one based around MMC and focussed on contractor-led delivery, the other focussed explicitly on application for ‘true’ self-build, including the construction of a prototype. Both approaches have potential to be utilised in rural and edge of settlement locations, but each approach warrants different materials and techniques. Section 5 reports on the ongoing construction of two pilot projects, employing the two distinct approaches. Observations are made around the effectiveness of each approach, and the potential for further development, optimisation and future implementation. Finally, section 6 draws conclusions from the research work. Conclusions describe the potential of alternative approaches to increase the capacity to build quality new housing in the UK, the barriers and incentives affecting the uptake of new approaches, and the potential of alternative approaches to deliver wider benefits – particularly for future generations. Opportunities for further work in the future are also identified.

Item Type: Artefact
Date Type: Completion
Schools: Architecture
Last Modified: 30 Apr 2021 09:07

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