Brick-maker Hanson has unveiled a futuristic house being built at the Building Research Establishment (BRE) to designs by TP Bennett.
The house, called Hanson House 2, will form part of the BRE's Offsite 2007 Exhibition, which opens on 11 June in Watford.
Mark Stewart, director of T P Bennett, explained that the form of the house was originally inspired by a brick kiln, and by the way that it is ventilated. Designed as an 'upside down' house, with the bedrooms on the ground floor, it has open-plan living space around the staircase on the first floor.
The brick panels for the walls are prefabricated and being lifted in, and Stewart has stack-bonded the brickwork to make this prefabricated origins obvious. Hanson is planning to invest in equipment to allow it to prefabricate the walls automatically in future.
Internally, the walls will be sprayed with wet plaster, which maintains thermal mass, unlike plasterboard.
Stewart is also working on a number of other house options, such as town houses and apartments.
And David Szymanski, managing director of Hanson Building Products, hopes to build a model village of such houses on land that Hanson owns, making use of renewable technology on a community-wide scale. 'You have to go back to the idea of community,' he said.
Szymanski also said that the housing industry wants to extend the design life of new houses from the current 60 years to 120 years. 'That is how long we will need them for,' he said.by Ruth Slavid