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The Welsh house of the future

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Jestico + Whiles has won a competition to build a 'house for the future' prototype which incorporates a host of environment-friendly measures but has been costed at just £120,000. The house will be built at the Museum of Welsh Life in Cardiff and be 'roadtested' by its first inhabitants for a bbc tv programme next year.

The practice, which beat competition from bdg McColl, Capita, Eleena Jamil in association with the project office at the Welsh School of Architecture, Maredudd ab lestyn and Pierre d'Avoine Architects, aims to produce an adaptable building using sustainable materials and technologies.

Working with ecd Energy and Environment, Barton Engineers and Currie & Brown, for client the National Museums and Galleries of Wales, the practice has looked at socio-economic trends and decided on a flexible solution. It designed the house to be responsive to changes in family structure and work patterns - the number of bedrooms can vary from one to five, with the option of a 'granny flat', teenagers' den, or sub-let apartment as required. Although the cost plan shows that each module or 'bay' costs around £40,000, disabled access to the first floor, costing around £10,000, could not be incorporated.

The house has a structural frame of locally grown timber, with very heavily wool- or newspaper-insulated infill walls wrapping round three sides of the building. The south of the building has large areas of double-glazing, allowing controllable passive solar gain.

Building work will start in the Autumn and bbc Wales will be filming the project in early 2000.

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