Blog: Offsite for diversification not standardisation – a reflection on A&DS new Housing Case Studies

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One year ago there was a public exhibition at Architecture and Design Scotland “Sustainable Communities pre-manufactured from wood” curated by Edinburgh Napier University with funding support form Scottish Forestry. The exhibition highlighted the drivers in a modern construction context of regulations, human capital, digitisation, culture, productivity and sustainability and their convergence to varying levels of premanufacture (sub-assembly, panelised, volumetric or hybrid) Exhibition “4 Projects: Sustainable Communities Pre-manufactured from wood” – A&DS Materials Library.

This further series of case studies contained within Using Offsite Construction for Housing Delivery in Scotland expands upon this content and themes through an eclectic range of exemplar projects of varying scales and delivery models. What these case studies demonstrate are the different forms of offsite construction and how they can respond to a range of situations, from a low energy housing development to a modular accommodation unit capable of being transported to a remote setting,  and two further case studies demonstrating urban and rural offsite manufacture responses to community cooperatives utilising massive timber construction.

The offsite construction approach is often stigmatised with being limited due to standardisation, what is demonstrated here is that by understanding the capabilities of the factory and working with the logistical arrangements highly compelling building typologies can be delivered. These 4 projects challenge the norm in terms of the speculative housing building business model and by utilising timber as the primary construction material they have enhanced environmental credentials by means of sequestrating carbon in the built environment whilst offering high levels of thermal performance and biophilic design responses via natural finishes. Building homes and creating healthy communities requires these types of approaches to be made mainstream.

Robert Hairstans

Centre for Offsite and Innovation Structures, Edinburgh Napier University

Housing Typology Case Studies

These examples illustrate where architects and urban designers have reconciled functions of the individual house that are integral to placemaking.

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