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Rural Office for Architecture wins £40k self-build competition

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Niall Maxwell of Rural Office for Architecture has won the 2015 National Custom and Self Build Association-run (NaCSBA) ‘Self Build on a Shoestring’ competition with designs for a flat-pack home

Maxwell, who takes home the £5,000 top prize fund, was announced as the winner at the Grand Designs Live exhibition yesterday (8 October).

He proposed using CNC cutting to form plywood sections for the roof, walls and floors of the 40m2 starter home which he said could be built for £39,800.

He estimated it would take four people a week to construct the house, which could be clad in a range of options including timber, metal sheeting or wood.

‘Think of it as the building equivalent of flat-pack furniture, but with the added benefits of future extension, alteration or relocation,’ said Maxwell.

The 2015 ‘Self Build on a Shoestring’ competition challenged architects and designers to come up with innovative ways of building a modest ‘ultra-flexible’ starter home for £40,000.

It also required entrants to show how the house could adapt as the household expands over time.

Judges, who included Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud, architect Luke Tozer and self-builder Geoff Stowe, commented on the winning scheme: ‘This solution has been based on a similar ‘test’ building that the team constructed last year – this suggests it is practical to build and the costs data that was provided is realistic and well prepared. If the homes were mass-produced the home could be built for about £840 per m².’

Second place was awarded to Alex Taylor of MSA Architects for his SplitHouse, while third place went to Leila Ferraby for her entry dubbed Bauelements.

Last year, the prize was picked up by Levitt Bernstein which defeated Mole and John Broome Architects.

An exhibition of sixteen projects on the competitions long-list goes on display from today (8 October) as part of the Grand Designs Live show at the NEC in Birmingham.


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