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Igloo reveals six architects’ modular home designs for Glasgow site

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In an innovative exercise in collaboration, six local practices were brought together to rethink terraced house design. Richard Waite reports

Igloo Regeneration has revealed plans, drawn up by six Glasgow practices, for a low-carbon, customisable, timber-panelled modular housing scheme at Dundashill on the site of the former Port Dundas distillery, north of Glasgow city centre. 

The firms were asked to come up with their own take on a contemporary terrace house which could be repeated in blocks or sit alongside designs by the other studios. Working with landowner Scottish Canals, the innovative collaborative design approach brought together emerging practices McGinlay Bell and Ann Nisbet Studio with more established firms jmarchitects, HAUS Architects, MAST Architects and Stallan Brand. 

The firms worked on an open brief for a three-storey, three-bedroom house type with an area of 98-105m2 and a construction budget ranging from £142,000 to £153,000. The practices agreed dimensions among themselves for homes 4.25-4.5m wide and to a depth of up to 11m.

Dapple dundashill models 3

Dapple dundashill models 3

Igloo has said one design would be rolled out in numbers across the development. But its founder and executive chair, Chris Brown, added that ‘a number, potentially all’ of the six invited practices could be involved within the custom-build area (plot 4A) at the top of the site. Igloo has again teamed up with off-site manufacturing company CCG (Scotland), having worked with the construction firm on the Maryhill Locks scheme in the city. 

Explaining Igloo’s approach to sustainability, Brown said: ‘Glasgow City Council is moving towards Passivhaus on its new housing. But we are not necessarily Passivhaus evangelists – we are more interested in embodied carbon than the M&E needed for Passivhaus.’

He added: ‘Embodied carbon is pumped into the atmosphere today [whereas] operational carbon, which Passivhaus seeks to minimise, saves carbon over a much longer period. So, in any trade-off, embodied carbon wins, given today’s climate emergency.’ 

Igloo’s team on the project has been led by development director Gary Watt, working with ex-PegasusLife design director John Nordon.

The site has lain empty since the closure of the distillery in 2010. Two years ago HTA Design drew up a ‘placeplan’, envisioning more than 600 homes on the site. Igloo has yet to apply for detailed permission but hopes construction will get underway early next year.

Ann Nisbet Studio

Ann nisbet collage

Ann nisbet collage

This house can be customised for a diverse range of households, from families with children, to mature downsizers. A shell-only scheme has also been designed. Smaller add-ons include window canopies, box balconies, external benches and internal balustrades. 

Ann nisbet floorplans

Ann nisbet floorplans

HAUS Architects

Haus plans

Haus plans

The practice says its proposal is not just the home but the ‘experience of owning a home’. The set-up would allow purchasers to ‘engage with the designers and builders … actively influencing their individual living environments’.  

Haus facade

Haus facade

MAST Architects

Mast floor plans

Mast floor plans

This ‘kit of parts’ house design has fixed basic elements such as the stair, bathroom and services, but allows living, sleeping and working spaces to be arranged within superstructure modules at the buyer’s discretion.

McGinlay Bell

Mcginlay bell collage

Mcginlay bell collage

Rooms are organised around a stair, bathroom and chimney core. The adaptable plan allows a bedroom to be added or removed, the volume manipulated and a lift to be fitted, making the house completely accessible.

Mcginlay bell standard plan

Mcginlay bell standard plan

jmarchitects

Jmarchitects plans

Jmarchitects plans

The practice offers three options based on a courtyard house type. Drawing on Glasgow tenement design, the scheme repeats key architectural components, such as windows, screens and doors, to create what it calls ‘a highly visually coherent, unified urban environment’.

Jmarchitects model

Jmarchitects model

Stallan Brand

Stallan brand drawings

Stallan brand drawings

The proposed Stepped House design offers the potential for a number of variations. It can change orientation so that it always provides a south-facing roof terrace, taking advantage of the site’s spectacular views across the city.

Stallan brand street

Stallan brand street

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