Our Island Home Design Competition

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Rural Housing Scotland announce affordable island home design competition

A two stage open design competition to design a two bedroom house suitable for island locations which is affordable to build and heat. The objective of the competition is to help community landowners to use their land to enable the development of well designed warm, affordable housing for rent and ownership. The winning house to be built on community owned land in three island locations.

The Our Island Home competition, organised in conjunction with Architecture and Design Scotland, will create a house which is easy, quick and affordable to build and heat to help young islanders make new homes in their island communities, and help community landowners to use their land to build affordable housing for rent and ownership. The Our Island Home project is supported by the Prince’s Countryside Fund, ScotGrad and HIE.

At the reception in the Scottish Parliament to launch the competition, Lesley Riddoch, chair of the Judging Panel said “affordable housing is vital to enable young people to put down roots and help our island communities to blossom… look at Gigha, new affordable housing has helped the island’s population grow by nearly 50% since the community buyout in 2001.”

The Challenge
Building affordable housing in island communities can be difficult due to the high cost of transporting materials and labour. The small developments required generate few economies of scale restricting the viability of projects. Household incomes are also low and often unpredictable limiting the borrowing available to island households. Whilst incomes are low, fuel costs are high as most island households are limited to electricity or oil as heating sources.

Our Island Home aims to tackle these issues by developing an affordable island starter house that is:

  • easy to build – to facilitate self build, and fast assembly to minimise the travel and subsistence costs associated with island construction;
  • easy/cheap to heat – to help overcome fuel poverty which is more common in the Hebrides than any other part of Scotland; low incomes, poor housing and expensive heating options all contribute.
  • generates economies of scale- through an adaptable design which will use standardised components.

Further information can be found here.

The closing date for the first stage of the competition is 11 November 2013 at 5pm.

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