Four projects finished longlisted in Norbord SterlingOSB Zero/RIBAJ's Off Grid 2030 competition to design a home that meets the RIBA 2030 Climate Challenge
The Rain Catcher – Davide Roth
This self-sufficient detached house uses site-sourced materials (such as clay-based earth) alongside preformed OSB structural components and 3D printing for construction efficiency. Two fixed cores contain essential services around which seven flexible rooms can be assigned and closed off according to co-living/working requirements. The judges praised the independent booths for working or studying. Recycled plastic roof tiles and natural fibre insulation, rainwater harvesting and photovoltaic panels contribute to its sustainability. The judges were all taken by the striking curved form. ‘It’s an interesting shape and an interesting use of the material,’ commented David Connacher. Stephen Proctor agreed, saying: ‘I like that it starts from first principles … the plan is clever.”
The Matchbox Townhouse – Hon Yen Chong and Chen-Yong Tan
The Matchbox Townhouse explores how changing household sizes can be supported by flexible spaces within a contemporary home. In a scheme of two-bedroom homes with a retractable third room OSB pod, the designers aim to establish a sustainable and long-lasting community whereby families can settle, avoiding relocation to up or down-size.
An energy core, fuelled by a photovoltaic roof and rainwater-harvesting system is shared between four households for even distribution. A shared filtration system recycles greywater for non-potable use.
The judges commended the inclusion of gardens in a town setting and the spatial efficiency as well as the presentation as a whole. ‘I thought the graphics were really lovely,’ said Bethan Watson. ‘I could live there; it has an appeal,’ added David Connacher.
Off Grid 2030 – Angus Eitel, Isabella Hicks, Josh Smith and Olivia Laughlin
Off Grid 2030 is a model home intended to be implemented on any site by any client. A core central space is surrounded by standard-size OSB modules to reduce material waste, promote simplicity and guarantee the modules will tessellate. Low-embodied-carbon materials and considered fittings (such as low-flow taps and dual-flush toilets) contribute to the sustainability features. The thermal modelling tool, designPH, informed the heating strategy.
The core module has a double-height space with a large central skylight promoting wellbeing through natural daylighting. Large OSB doors between rooms provide the opportunity to open up spaces into an inclusive family living area. A roof terrace promotes healthy and inclusive living, in particular on smaller sites with limited space. The integration of outdoors space as a core element of the design was praised for its generosity. In terms of its commitment to efficient use of OSB, Bethan Watson said: ‘I thought they took the opportunity of a sheet material and used it sensibly. The details are believable, the customisation is good.’
Mitre House – Peter Dagger
Intriguingly described as ‘somewhere between a conventional Roman villa courtyard typology and a mobile home’, Mitre House comprises four prefabricated OSB units framing a central 120m2 courtyard. The units are oriented according to prevailing wind conditions to maximise natural ventilation and cooling, and can be stacked or tessellated alternatively, according to need. An inset pond cools the microclimate while deciduous fruit trees offer shading and food. Photovoltaic arrays and small-scale turbines provide off-grid stores. A ‘blue roof’ irrigates polytunnel and moveable planter-bed-grown crops. Despite the impracticality of disconnected rooms (wet weather risk) the judges praised the home’s aesthetics (‘It looks like a spa, I’d like to go there for the weekend,’ said Kristofer Adelaide) and the proposal’s commitment to a self-sufficient lifestyle.