Recently shortlisted into the top 8 for the UK sector and awarded a commendation for its creative and imaginative solution to housing in the UK, the Trent Bank proposal is a design-led framework that centers on self-provision as a sustainable development and procurement model for new neighborhoods. As a competition entry for the Isover Multi-Comfort House and designed by Eric Chancellor, Jordan Lloyd, and Chris Matthews, The development allows for a low density, but high intensity program of start-up businesses and community amenities, with transient commercial use – taking advantage of a piece of planning legislation called a Local Development Order (LDO). More images and architects’ description after the break.
The project proposes that the first move should be to convert an existing riverside depot into a self-build factory/academy. The community factory then becomes the engine which equips a community of ordinary people to procure and build their own user-made neighborhood, which can be more affordable, more sustainable and more suited to their needs than a market-led development.
This approach is influenced by the principles set out in A Right to Build, a joint research project between Sheffield School of Architecture and London-based practice Architecture 00:/. In collaboration with 00:/’s Alastair Parvin, also a former Sheffield student and author of A Right to Build, the team have developed a proposal which uses the WikiHouse system: an open source construction system developed by 00:/ and published under a Creative Commons license. The WikiHouse system allows non-professionals without formal training or skills to design, share and download 3D models for houses, the parts for which can be cut from standard 18mm plywood sheets using an automated CNC milling process. The houses can then be quickly and easily assembled with no need for formal training or power tools; not unlike an IKEA kit.
The scheme also addresses numerous infrastructural issues in the surrounding area and would viably provide a better link between the basin site and the city centre, located less than a mile away, as well as considerably improving the water’s edge. The currently underused river inlet would be reconfigured into the UK’s largest mooring and associated facilities provided for river boats, with large tracts of the space being used to host city-wide events such as open air concerts, carnivals and large markets.
The ease of WikiHouse’s construction with an emphasis on low skill threshold makes it the perfect housing technology for self providers. Environmental simulations using Isover’s premium insulation exceeds the organizers’ technical requirements, whilst the product would provide lasting value for self-provided home owners. Those owners, liberated from the costs and risks of the traditional planning process, and motivated by their desire to reduce heating costs during the life of the building, would be able to specify better performance building fabric, as well as being able to adapt and improve their home in the future whenever they need to.
Recently there have been plans set forth to destroy the existing warehouses, ignoring the unique sense of place this site has created. This site is unique in the Midlands and should be preserved in some fashion. As in this design, the manufacturing heritage is maintained and brought into the collaborative conditions of 21st century manufacturing. An attempt to achieve an English Heritage Listing by Chris Matthews has unfortunately failed, however the petition has garnered strong support and precedent to treat the site with care to its existing condition.
Design: Eric Chancellor, Christopher Matthews, Jordan Lloyd
Location: Nottingham, Trent Basin, UK
Status: UK Shortlist for 2012 Isover Multi-Comfort House, Awarded a special commendation for our “Imaginative and Controversial Self-Build Proposal”