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Competition: Self-build on a shoestring 2017

Pollard Thomas Edwards’ £4.2 million New Ground co-housing scheme
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The National Custom & Self Build Association (NaCSBA) has announced an open ideas contest for a £1.5 million retirement community

The competition seeks ‘cost-effective, beautiful and green’ proposals for an elderly housing development featuring 30 units, each costing up to £40,000, on a theoretical 1ha suburban site.

The project is the latest edition of NaCSBA’s annual ‘Self-build on a shoestring’ competition. This year’s call for ideas was inspired by Pollard Thomas Edwards’ £4.2 million New Ground cohousing scheme (pictured) for older women in Barnet, north London.

The competition brief explains: ‘In mainland Europe many innovative retirement communities have been delivered directly by groups of elderly people. The groups have worked together to commission and design their homes, and then hired a contractor to construct the properties. These projects often incorporate lots of shared spaces, such as a communal laundry, workshops, libraries and car-sharing schemes. Many also include shared guest bedrooms that any of the residents can use when friends or family want to stay. And most have a generous central communal space that can be used for shared meals or other community events.

‘The 2017 Shoestring competition wants to capitalise on the growing interest in these new forms of housing for older people – especially housing that is simple and cost effective to build, and where the residents have a real say in the design, layout and the range of facilities that are to be provided. Developments like this often help elderly people be more active, and encourage mutual support, thereby reducing the need for social care.’

First held in 2013, the annual ‘Self-build on a shoestring’ contest focuses on promoting alternative low-cost solutions to emerging issues such as affordable housing. Barton Willmore won last year’s competition with an innovative ‘modulhus’ proposal for a two-bedroom home costing just £49,644.

The latest competition seeks Lifetime Homes-compliant proposals for a 30-unit retirement community featuring communal spaces on an imagined site on the edge of a small UK town. Schemes should feature low running-costs suitable for pensioners on modest fixed incomes.

Anonymous submissions should include high-quality visuals, detailed technical information relating to construction, and cost estimates. Judges include television architect George Clarke and Piers Taylor of Invisible Studio.

The winners, set to be announced at the Grand Designs Live Exhibition inside Birmingham’s NEC in October, will share a £5,000 prize fund.

The deadline for applications is 5pm, 21 September.

How to apply

Visit the competition website for more information

Contact details

Custom Build on a Shoestring
c/o NaCSBA
National Self Build & Renovation Centre
Lydiard Fields
Great Western Way

Email: shoestring@nacsba.org.uk


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