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Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

8 August 2013

A solution to the UK housing shortage

Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners (RSHP) has designed an innovative, low-cost house to be erected in the Royal Academy Annenberg courtyard, using the pioneering technology first developed for their Oxley Woods housing scheme in Milton Keynes.

The Homeshell installation is constructed using Insulshell (developed by Sheffield Insulated Group and Cox Bench ), which is a flexible, quick, low-cost and highly energy efficient building system which can help contribute to solving the UK’s current housing crisis. This installation will be a three and half storey building, arriving as flat-pack panels on one truck and will take only 24 hours to construct on site. It will be the first house ever built in the courtyard of the Royal Academy.

Inside the Homeshell visitors will be able to view a time lapse film of the installation’s construction and see how the innovative building system fits together.

The Insulshell system is so flexible that it can be used for many building types from homes, apartments, schools to factories and health centres. Even the Velodrome at London 2012 was constructed using this method. It offers many advantages over traditional building techniques. It can be adapted to suit any location and it is great for difficult, highly urban or small sites. Therefore, it allows more urban brown field sites to be used to create more homes (utilising existing transport and infrastructure links) instead of encroaching on the green belt. There is an estimated 63,750 hectares of brownfield (previously built on land) in England of which 51% is derelict or vacant. There is an urgent need for more housing in the UK and this system allows us to meet this need far faster than traditional methods.

The Homeshell will be dismantled after its display at the Royal Academy and rebuilt on a site in Mitcham where it will be fitted out and act as the show house for prospective tenants for the YMCA South West Y:Cube Housing project, designed by RSHP.

Ivan Harbour, Senior Partner at Rogers Stirk Harbour Partners says,
“The Homeshell delivers generous space, exceptional insulation, daylight and acoustics. We believe it holds many answers for well designed and sustainable urban living and could change the way we think about our housing into the future. Having it at the Royal Academy will provoke debate about how architectural innovation might help us meet the UK’s housing needs – for everyone”