:: Specific Design Brief
Ecological Housing - further
PRODUCT DESIGN UK
The house design should take into account the ecological criteria outlined
General Reference Section.
POSSIBLE DETAILED STUDY SUBJECTS
1. CONTEXTUAL STUDY
such pre-fabricated housing to have any chance of success with the UK public as
permanent desirable housing, it needs to be long-lasting, substantial in its
materials, attractive, and possibly fit in to a regional character. This is
alongside all of the benefits to comfort and health, and the sunny attractive
interiors that the above sustainable design criteria will bring. To facilitate
these qualities, a study might include looking at the following;
Look at past or
current examples; for example, 1,000’s of pre-fab. houses were put up after
World War 2, and some still remain standing, albeit renovated. There are also
examples of these in some of the open air museums, i.e. Avoncroft and
Chilterns Open Air Museum. Recent well-known examples of pre-fabricated
houses include the ‘Castaway pods’ for the t.v. programme of the same name.
How are the
houses built in your area? Commonly, the ‘brick’ houses filling new estates
all round our towns are theoretically timber framed houses, with the brickwork
solely providing a substantial rainscreen, and that desired impression of
masonry construction. A lot of these new houses may include pre-fabricated
wall and roof panels and trusses.
Choose an area
of the country for the design; a hebridean island or an infill site in
Birmingham would bring contrasting ideas to inform the design
patterns of the area; rain, sun and wind. The nature of the exposure of the
site will inform the type of materials chosen
profile of a typical user; this could vary enormously from an independent
self-builder working co-operatively with a small group to build a small estate
of detached dwellings, or a developer building a terrace of houses
typical build costs,
materials of the region (vernacular); how can the new houses fit in with
these. Can the design be adapted to have a steep clay tile roof in
Northumberland, and a parapet design in regency Cheltenham, for example.
cladding of the walls possible to encourage this variation
2. STRUCTURAL / CONSTRUCTION STUDY
different types of construction used to build houses in the UK; post and beam,
stud framing, masonry – solid or cavity wall.
are most appropriate for pre-fabrication
What type of
materials can maximise the pre-fabrication process; i.e. is a frame made in
the factory and clad on site, or are wall and roof panels prepared and
insulated in the factory etc.
How do these
processes work on site; what equipment is needed for construction; how are
panels or components joined together ?
airtightness of the construction, etc. ensured ?
Once a building
is super-insulated, it is vital that ventilation for fresh air internally is
through controlled openings, i.e. windows and trickle vents in windows, and
mechanical ventilation. Great care has to be taken in the construction to
avoid uncontrolled air leakage between elements of the construction, e.g.
between window frame and structure.
3. MATERIALS STUDY
Look at health
Look at the
sources of current conventional building materials, and compare their embodied
energy with that of more ecological materials. Generally speaking, materials
have less embodied energy if they are natural, unprocessed, involve simple
fixing on site, and minimise transport.
involve looking at new technologies to produce insulation and board materials
from plant and organic fibres and wood; flax, straw, hemp, sheepswool, wood
materials may also lead to knowledge of existing techniques or of new
possibilities; re-use of car tyres, glass, crushed concrete etc.
4. TECHNOLOGY STUDY
Look at solar
hot water heating, wind turbine technology, photovoltaics, water saving
technology, biomass district heating etc.
types of technology used in current example projects around the country;
‘Castaway pods’, Taransay, Scotland; ‘House for the Future’ at Welsh Museum of
Rural Life, St.Fagan’s,Cardiff; Integer House, BRE site, Garston,Watford;
various houses at the Centre for Alternative Technology, Machynlleth, Powys.;
Eco-House, Leicester Ecology Trust,Leicester etc.
technologies and decide what may be appropriate (i.e. user-friendly and easily
maintained) and affordable for householders.
Focus in on one
element of your designed system, and design and make a particular component.
SUGGESTED WORK PRODUCED
and elevations, and 3-D drawings of the house, 1.50 metric scale or larger
Model of the
whole or parts of the construction, 1.50 or larger; this could be a roof truss
that could be easily tested by weighing down with water; or a section of wall
construction showing the layers of rainscreen, sheathing boards, insulation
materials, structural components, and internal lining materials
model of a particular component, using the actual materials of construction.
reports in the different study subjects, showing how this research information
has informed the design and make project chosen.