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Sheffield University students study eco-materials

Architecture students at Sheffield University have been using the LILAC co-housing development to study sustainable materials

As part of a live-build module, entitled Materials for Low Impact Building, students at the University of Sheffield have produced full-sized cross section models of the Low Impact Living Affordable Community (LILAC) in Leeds.

Students are using the model to see how the houses have been constructed and incorporate similar ideas and techniques when designing their own projects.

The models should help the students better understand both methods and products used in sustainable construction.


The LILAC housing development, which was completed in March 2013, uses ModCell strawbale prefabricated panels. The panels have been used to create the external and internal walls, floors, ceilings and roof system.

LILAC is a community led cohousing group who commissioned the housing with support from the Homes and Communities Agency and the Technology Strategy Board. Providing affordable homes for the local community, LILAC is a Mutual Home Ownership Society, one of the first of its kind in the UK. It is owned and developed by the society as whole and residents own a share of this.

Designed by White Design, there are twenty houses: six one-bed, six two-bed, six three-bed and two four-bed houses.

The development also features a ‘common house’, where members of the community share a laundry, communal cooking and eating space, a play area and office space

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