Scottish Housing Expo

Our winning bid at the Highland Housing Fair.

  • Size/Scale n/a
  • Location Inverness, Scotland
  • Client Cairn Housing Association
  • Completion 2010

Scottish Housing Expo

We originally took part in the open competition organised by the RIAS for the Highland Housing Fair back in 2008. Our winning bid was for the plot 4.2 which was to be a Housing Association rented property and our concept was the “Healthy House”.

Subsequently changed to The Scottish Housing Expo, the concept is based upon similar models found in mainland Europe, and particularly Finland where historically the housing fair concept has proven very successful in stimulating quality design and innovation for housing.

Our winning design was based on the following concepts and beliefs:

Rationalised Sustainability– by adopting the common sense approach, a healthy internal environment as well as a sustainable one is created through the choice of non-toxic materials, natural ventilation, passive solar gain, masonry heat syncs, and increased levels of insulation.

Low Tech– avoiding the high maintenance energy hungry technological Eco Clichés.

Healthy Living Environment– breathing wall construction allowing a healthier internal air quality through the increased movement of air, assisted by the layering of non-toxic construction products such as timber cladding, steam compressed wood pulp boarding(Panel Vent), Recycled Paper insulation (Warmcell Cellulose insulation), plaster board and Clay Paints.

Low Toxicity– material choices have been considered to provide a healthy living environment, especially regarding the internal finishes such as clay paints, low toxicity carpets and Natural Stains/ paints within a formaldehyde free construction.

Low Energy Consumption & Running Costs– provided through the “Low Tech” “Rationalised” sustainable approach and strengthened through the choice of Eco-appliances such as reducers on shower heads and taps, efficient boilers and low energy appliances. Total energy costs in real terms amount to only £200 per year – includes costs for space heating, water heating, energy for lighting and all standing charges.

Site Specific– Designed to take advantage of the plot orientation, maximising natural solar gain through South Westerly double height space; assisted ventilation via prevailing Westerly winds and rooms positioned to receive the best light suited to their function.

Locally Sourced Materials– Almost all internal and external materials are locally sourced thus reducing the embodied energy and cost of transporting goods, also the construction methods are standard which facilitates local trades and economy.

Construction Flexibility– Timber frame stud construction allowing for time/ cost savings as factory-built methods can be adopted or simply built on site with local trades and skills.

An Exemplar for Social Housing– providing a healthy, sustainable and stimulating environment through flexible social spaces and visual links through double height spaces. A considerable achievement considering the restrictions of budget, economics and design briefs within social housing.

Although much of the content above was removed in the cost cutting process that was carried out prior to the build, we believe we fulfilled the basics of the concept. It is our belief that the simple design ethos will be carried through in future social housing in Scotland.