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Project - Town House
Sector - Housing
Technology - Pods
Company - Shedkm
Winner of 2018 Offsite Awards - Architect of the Year
Town House is a new concept for mass housing and a direct challenge to the established typologies of the major housebuilders. It exploits clever modular planning to create spacious, ﬂexible, modern and sustainable customerdesigned homes that are manufactured offsite to a very high standard and delivered to site fully ﬁnished.
Customer choice is the driving concept behind Town House. The challenge to us as architects was to develop a design that could offer purchasers a choice of sizes (two or three storeys); of living spaces (garden-focused on the ground ﬂoor or loft-style living on the top ﬂoor); and of layouts (from open-plan to cellular) - as well as different kitchen, bathroom and ﬁnishes options - to allow customers to tailor their new home to their individual tastes from over 130,000 possible combinations. This is achieved through a rigorous organisation of the plan with ﬁxed zones for circulation and services and a deﬁning logic governing possible locations of internal walls generating a series of standard room sizes. These ﬁxed parameters allow a wide range of layout options within a standardised shell. The base option contains simply a stair, kitchen and bathroom pod.
Purchasers can select from a variety of layouts and ﬁnishes, or can choose to ﬁt out the shell themselves.
Designing for manufacture requires a different approach from the design team. Tolerances and movement inﬂuence the choice of materials; wet trades are largely eliminated. The production process itself inﬂuences the design of the houses too, for example small changes to the bathroom design allows these to be constructed as pods on a separate production line then craned into the main pods, speeding up the process.
Offsite manufacture also challenges our approach to the sites. Landscaping and external works are now complete before the houses arrive so sequencing, delivery access and crane locations need careful consideration from the outset. Our skills as placemakers are invaluable as the arrangement of houses to create terraces, streets, squares and courtyards is an important differentiator giving a unique identity to each development.
Town House will continue to evolve in its construction, external appearance and range of customer choices on offer. Lessons learned are already being applied to reﬁne Town House as well as to develop a family of House products for Urban Splash, including a small apartment block - Mansion House; Row House - a smaller, simpler house type aimed at a lower price point and offering increased densities; and Kit House - a larger and more ﬂexible offering which separates simple spaces for living and sleeping into one module with a separate pod containing stairs, bathrooms and services.
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