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Malcolm Fraser wins people's vote at Scottish Housing Expo


A larch-clad house by Malcolm Fraser Architects has been crowned the ‘people’s favourite home’ by visitors to the Scottish Housing Expo near Inverness

According to Highland Housing Alliance, the organisers of the first housing fair dedicated to the future of sustainable living in the UK, House NS on plot 27 best showcased ‘what could be achieved with a bit of thought on good design and a focus on sustainability’.

The alliance now plans to sell off 24 of the 52 homes exhibited at the Expo, with homes selling for between £220,000 for a three bedroom mid-terraced home to around £350,000 for a three-four bedroom detached home.

Malcolm Fraser of Malcolm Fraser Architects said: ‘We had tried to build something familiar to the house-buying public, and to our house builders that pushes forward simple, sustainable design - We are very happy that the public seem to agree.

‘Looking round the site, it’s interesting to learn from the other house designs [and].we’d like to think that we could do even better the next time.’

Project data

House NS is a three bedroom and two public room detached home. It has a highly insulated ‘breathing’ envelope using materials that can be recycled or from natural, sustainable sources with a flexible internal layout. Constructed of a timber frame structure with Scottish larch cladding and zinc roofing, it has a predicted annual running cost of £274.

Previous story (AJ 04.08.10)

In pictures: Scotland Housing Expo opens

The first housing fair dedicated to the future of sustainable living in the UK has opened its doors

The month-long Scotland Housing Expo at Milton of Leys, just south of Inverness, includes 52 sustainable homes some of which still need to be completed.

The show has received £12 million funding - a mix of loan finance from the Highland Council, RBS and housing association cash - is based on models found in mainland Europe -particularly Finland - where the housing fair concept is used to showcase innovations in housing designs.

Following a national competition run by the RIAS in 2007, 24 practices were selected to design the experimental homes, including Brennan and Wilson Architects, A+J Burridge, John Gilbert Architects, David Somerville Architect, Richard Murphy Architects, Malcolm Fraser Architects, Graeme Massie Architects, Rural Design and Oliver Chapman Architects.

Johnny Cadell, Cadell2 architects and urban designers, the masterplanner of the Expo, said: ‘Between masterplan, landscape design and the multi-faceted architecture, the housing in the Expo shows an exciting vision for future housing in this country.

‘The Expo design departs from the UK- wide volume-built house types and cul-de-sac formula that is usually offered to house buyers even in the most beautiful of places such as the site at Milton of Leys.

‘[The show] considers the Scottish environment and climate and how to respond to the sensitivity of the Scottish landscape. It considers the well-designed, sustainable and humane living environments of the future [and] has denser streets, more close knit and intimate than we are familiar with from the cul-de-sac legacy.’

He added: ‘Houses have been laid out in many configurations that present alternatives to detached suburban forms.

The Skewed House by Oliver Chapman Architects

The Skewed House by Oliver Chapman Architects at the Scottish Housing Expo 2010

Throughout the expo, a series of seminars will be held, organised by Sust, the Scottish Government’s Sustainability in Architecture Programme, part of Architecture and Design Scotland (A+DS).

Councillor Ian Ross, chairman of The Highland Council’s planning environment and development committee, said: ‘[The Expo] will put the Highlands on the national and international stage in showcasing innovative modern low energy housing designs and stimulating the wider use of sustainable local timber and other Highland materials.

Delayed by almost a year due mainly to the credit crunch, the project has the backing of the Scottish Government, the Forestry Commission Scotland, Highland Council, Highland Housing Alliance, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, SUST: Sustainability in Architecture Programme, the RIAS and Inverness Architectural Association.

Three on Nine by Graham Mitchell Architects

Three on Nine by Graham Mitchell Architects terrace at the Scottish Housing Expo

Robertson Highland, one of the developers, has donated a truckload of LEGO to the Expo, offering a space for kids to get creative.

The fair runs until Tuesday, August 31, at Milton of Leys, just south of Inverness and accessible from the A9.

Children enter free. For further information, see www.scotlandshousingexpo.com


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Readers' comments (5)

  • Looks interesting - but can we have more info - particularly a site plan so it can be seen whether the houses form a cohesive group or just a disparate assembly of individualities.

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  • I've checked at the website link given but most of the properties aren't properly illustrated there either...

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  • The best of Scottish housing looks like a Norwegian fishing village

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  • Dear All

    The Highland Housing Alliance were developers of the Expo site, and I would like to correct a few inaccuracies in your report. The project did not receive £ 12M of public money - it received about £ 1.5 M in loan finance from Highland Council, £ 6 M in loand finance from the Royal Bank of Scotland, albeit backed by a Scottish Government guarantee and £ 2 M in Housing Association Grant for the affordable housing in the usual way. The loans will be repaid on the sale of the houses and the aim is to break even if we can.

    Further, the years delay was not because of planning, it was because of the credit crunch and the inabilitiy of some of the original developers to raise development finance, thus the new finance model.

    Can I ask if the Norwegian Fishing Village comment was based on an actual visit to the site ?!!! While we are proud in the Highlands of our Scandanavian roots and indeed have similar local building materials, I think there is more variation and surprise in the house types than you may imagine.

    We are extremely proud of the project and every designer and architect who has visited has been overwhelmed by the scale and diversity of what we have built.

    So come and see it - the Malmo of the North

    Susan Torrance ( not biased of course !! )

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  • Having been to both Norwegian Fishing villages and the Scottish Housing Expo I find the comparison made in a previous comment unjustified. Taking the whole site into consideration I suggest the author of the comment has been to some unique Norwegian Fishing villages. I have yet to see houses clad in black rubber or Caithness stone frequenting the typical Scandinavian village, or town.

    An interesting and diverse array of housing, showcased in a stunning setting.

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