MawsonKerr Architects' Low Rise High Density has been selected as the winner of the RIBA Journal Sterling OSB Habitat Award. The house proposal, in the Byker area of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, uses prefabrication and CNC techniques to confront issues of substance abuse and addiction.
Designed to be constructed quickly, easily, and by unskilled laborers, the single occupant houses and bungalows can be stacked or arranged side-by-side, coming together to form a low-rise, high-density community. This arrangement accommodates 115 homes per hectare, which each include their own front doors and private external spaces.
The design is based on modular units made with 8 sheets of OSB and allows for prefabricated window and door openings, kitchen units, and storage solutions. The interiors are lined with lacquered OSB for a simple aesthetic that contrasts with the external cladding material.
MawsonKerr understood that you can create a bespoke component from a sheet of OSB and a CNC machine and make that component interesting and useful, while performing several tasks at once, said judge Tim Lucas.
The architects aim for the construction of the prefabricated building components to become a community project, empowering individuals to gain control and pride in ownership of their homes. A panel system allows for customizability of both interior and exterior; meanwhile, the modular approach allows for an efficient use of space. The energy-efficient shell and low-rise design also bring natural light to all areas of the home, overall providing affordable and sustainable housing to promote a safe and vibrant community.
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Correction update: This article's headline originally referred to "RIBA's Sterling OSB Habitat Award." It has been changed to reflect the fact that the award was run by RIBA Journal, and is not a mainstream RIBA award.