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Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

“The Zip-up house system offered perhaps the ultimate in the flexible use of space. Internal partitions could be easily repositioned, the bathroom and kitchen were serviced from below and could be relocated over a weekend.”

Anthony Hunt, Structural Engineer

Originally designed in response to a competition for innovation in domestic architecture, the Zip-Up House, and a later development of it, Zip-Up 2, were Rogers’ first speculative exploration of what a modern house could be like, free of the constraints of traditional methods of construction. Though never fully realised, it was a model for the house that Rogers built for his parents in Wimbledon.

Following Charles and Ray Eames’ own house in California assembled in 1949 like a kit of parts from prefabricated components, the Zip-Up House would have been based on mass-produced parts. It was designed to use panels originally intended for refrigerated trucks. Its windows were made by automotive industry manufacturers for use in buses, sealed with neoprene zips.

It would have offered excellent insulation and rapid construction at low cost. Extending the house with extra modules would have been a simple process. The interior, with no fixed structural walls to contend with, would have been equally adaptable.

Running costs would also be minimised – the structural panels giving insulation value seven times that of a traditional house of the 1970s so that a three bedroom house could be heated by no more than a three-kilowatt heater.

“The Zip-up house system offered perhaps the ultimate in the flexible use of space. Internal partitions could be easily repositioned, the bathroom and kitchen were serviced from below and could be relocated over a weekend.”

Anthony Hunt, Structural Engineer

Originally designed in response to a competition for innovation in domestic architecture, the Zip-Up House, and a later development of it, Zip-Up 2, were Rogers’ first speculative exploration of what a modern house could be like, free of the constraints of traditional methods of construction. Though never fully realised, it was a model for the house that Rogers built for his parents in Wimbledon.

Following Charles and Ray Eames’ own house in California assembled in 1949 like a kit of parts from prefabricated components, the Zip-Up House would have been based on mass-produced parts. It was designed to use panels originally intended for refrigerated trucks. Its windows were made by automotive industry manufacturers for use in buses, sealed with neoprene zips.

It would have offered excellent insulation and rapid construction at low cost. Extending the house with extra modules would have been a simple process. The interior, with no fixed structural walls to contend with, would have been equally adaptable.

Running costs would also be minimised – the structural panels giving insulation value seven times that of a traditional house of the 1970s so that a three bedroom house could be heated by no more than a three-kilowatt heater.

“The Zip-up house system offered perhaps the ultimate in the flexible use of space. Internal partitions could be easily repositioned, the bathroom and kitchen were serviced from below and could be relocated over a weekend.”

Anthony Hunt, Structural Engineer

Originally designed in response to a competition for innovation in domestic architecture, the Zip-Up House, and a later development of it, Zip-Up 2, were Rogers’ first speculative exploration of what a modern house could be like, free of the constraints of traditional methods of construction. Though never fully realised, it was a model for the house that Rogers built for his parents in Wimbledon.

Following Charles and Ray Eames’ own house in California assembled in 1949 like a kit of parts from prefabricated components, the Zip-Up House would have been based on mass-produced parts. It was designed to use panels originally intended for refrigerated trucks. Its windows were made by automotive industry manufacturers for use in buses, sealed with neoprene zips.

It would have offered excellent insulation and rapid construction at low cost. Extending the house with extra modules would have been a simple process. The interior, with no fixed structural walls to contend with, would have been equally adaptable.

Running costs would also be minimised – the structural panels giving insulation value seven times that of a traditional house of the 1970s so that a three bedroom house could be heated by no more than a three-kilowatt heater.

“The Zip-up house system offered perhaps the ultimate in the flexible use of space. Internal partitions could be easily repositioned, the bathroom and kitchen were serviced from below and could be relocated over a weekend.”

Anthony Hunt, Structural Engineer

Originally designed in response to a competition for innovation in domestic architecture, the Zip-Up House, and a later development of it, Zip-Up 2, were Rogers’ first speculative exploration of what a modern house could be like, free of the constraints of traditional methods of construction. Though never fully realised, it was a model for the house that Rogers built for his parents in Wimbledon.

Following Charles and Ray Eames’ own house in California assembled in 1949 like a kit of parts from prefabricated components, the Zip-Up House would have been based on mass-produced parts. It was designed to use panels originally intended for refrigerated trucks. Its windows were made by automotive industry manufacturers for use in buses, sealed with neoprene zips.

It would have offered excellent insulation and rapid construction at low cost. Extending the house with extra modules would have been a simple process. The interior, with no fixed structural walls to contend with, would have been equally adaptable.

Running costs would also be minimised – the structural panels giving insulation value seven times that of a traditional house of the 1970s so that a three bedroom house could be heated by no more than a three-kilowatt heater.

Key Facts

    Awards
  • 1970  RIBA Research Award
  • 1968  House for Today

Show Team

Team

Sally Appleby
John Doggart

Marco Goldschmeid
Richard Rogers

Su Rogers
John Young

Hide Team

Date
1967-1969

Client
Competiton for Dupont

Architect
Richard + Su Rogers