UKCW 2018

NEC BIRMINGHAM   09-11 OCTOBER 2018

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A competition to find a new design for Taylor Wimpey houses has been won by a London firm of architects that exploits offsite prefabrication.

London-based Openstudio Architects has won Taylor Wimpey’s Project 2020 open design competition with its ’Infinite House’, a set of terrace housing prototypes.

Maximising construction efficiency was one of the key criteria when Taylor Wimpey launched the competition with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) last year to find its house of the future.

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Openstudio Architects said that the Infinite House prototypes are designed to offer maximum flexibility, customisation and cost efficiency, and to maximise levels of natural light and the perception of space.

The houses have been designed to reduce costs and control quality, maximising the efficiencies of repetitive construction, which will also minimise errors in construction.

The Infinite House can be constructed from both traditional and off-site methods. CLT is likely to become more feasible over time as off-site construction becomes economically viable, the architects says, but SIPS, timber-framed or brick and block construction are also possible. Roof pitches have been optimised for PV panels and eaves spaces can be used for plant and M&E technology requirements.

Taylor Wimpey chief executive Peter Redfern said: “This has been an engaging process, and we have been delighted by the level of interest and the quality of the entries. The standard of the six finalists was very high which made our final decision a difficult one. After meeting the architects much debate was had on the merits of each entry, but ultimately we were impressed by the way in which Openstudio interpreted the brief, and the simplicity, effectiveness and appeal of the winning designs.”

RIBA adviser Glenn Howells said: “The Project 2020 competition not only attracted a high number of high-quality entries but prompted a number of innovative and challenging ideas as to how the family house could respond to new technologies and patterns of living.

“Openstudio’s proposals for the Infinite House, however, raised the bar in reconsidering the archetype of the terraced house. This project considered not only the urban implications and technical possibilities for off-site production but also explored how such a house could enrich lives through the quality of climate, space and light.”

Another RIBA adviser, Sasha Bhavan, added: “Openstudio’s Infinite House emerged as the clear winner. The depth of research, passion and analytical thinking that they brought to the brief was palpable. The quality of light achieved and the ability of the house to respond to location and orientation through material and plan options was impressive.”

Jennifer Benningfield, principal of Openstudio Architects, said: “The level of commitment to transforming housing through this competition has impressed us. At all stages Taylor Wimpey was thoughtful, thorough and careful in decision-making. There are many pressures on housing – cost, delivery methods, sustainability and context – but fundamentally a house should provide joy to its inhabitants and fulfilment of their needs. We have focused on the quality of the houses themselves, and particularly on daylight and adaptable planning, in our submission. We believe that our Infinite House project truly offers the flexibility and customisation that home owners are looking for, and we look forward to working with the team at Project 2020 to realise and test the prototypes in the near future.”

The other shortlisted teams (listed in alphabetical order) were:-

Artform Architects, Manchester
Igor Russo with Flanagan Lawrence, London
More Design, London
Newground Architects, London
Origin 3 Studio, Bristol.

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Source: The Construction Index

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