05 February 2018
Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners' (RSHP) Saving the City exhibition, first exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 2016, has opened at the Bristol Architecture Centre. The exhibition, which focuses on how architectural innovation can help solve the housing crisis, will run until 7 April 2018.
The installation exhibits 30 years of factory-built housing designed by the practice, and highlights the need for a revolution in housing supply, with well-designed, factory-produced, fast-built, high-performance, affordable homes being built at scale to provide decent homes for the many people who need them.
The exhibition begins with ZipUp House, designed for a 1969 competition for the "House of Today", which was one of the practice's first prefabricated schemes. Made from insulated panels used for refrigerated trucks, and supported on steel jacks, the house was designed to be assembled and adapted far more quickly and cheaply than a conventional building.
The Industrialised Housing System, which responded to a client brief asking for 100,000 studio units for 20% of the cost of conventional homes, continues the exhibition, highlighting the practice's early adoption of modular prefabricated housing designs.
It continues with current schemes, including Y:Cube and PLACE/Ladywell, two south London projects providing homes for homeless people through local councils and the YMCA. They are fully built in a factory in England, then transported by lorry and craned into place on site, ready for use. Factory building allows for precision engineering to improve build quality, as well as speeding up the timelines along which more units can be built.
Other conceptual projects are also included. Tree House uses a timber structure that can be assembled in low tech factories from locally-sourced timber, and can be typically stacked over ten storeys.
Sarah James, Director of The Architecture Centre said at the opening:
“The Architecture Centre was delighted to welcome guests, peers and friends to the private view of Saving the City, an exhibition kindly on loan and supported by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP). Speaking to a packed gallery, special guest Stephen Spence, Associate Partner at RSHP, described the ethos and philosophy behind the practice’s housing projects on display and their overarching ambition to make compact, well-designed, sustainable homes a reality.”
“The Architecture Centre has received overwhelmingly positive responses to the Saving the City exhibition, which offers thought-provoking, well designed solutions to the housing crisis, as well as being a strong anchor for our season on Housing. With a packed-out private view for Saving the City, and a waiting list for our Housing season events programme, it is clear that people are keen to discuss the pressing, critical issues around effective housing solutions that are so keenly required right now.”