Connect with us

News

Cambridge: University architects unveil new prototype home design

Avatar photo

Published

on

University of Cambridge architects are inviting visitors to the London Design Biennale to experience a prototype home constructed with flexible wooden partition walls which can be shifted to meet the changing needs of residents.

The invention aims to reduce waste and carbon while also improving living conditions for those who cannot afford expensive refurbishments.

House-owners the world over consider ‘knocking through’ walls to achieve more open-plan living or changing layouts to accommodate new arrivals or circumstances.

The results may be impressive, but they come at a sizeable financial and environmental cost. But what if it wasn’t necessary to demolish internal brick and/or plaster walls and build new ones?

Researchers at Cambridge’s Centre for Natural Material Innovation and partners PLP Architecture have just unveiled Ephemeral, an innovative alternative using engineered wood, at the London Design Biennale at London’s Somerset House (1st – 25th June 2023).

The project, led by Cambridge researcher Ana Gatóo, invites visitors to step into a home constructed around principles of affordability, sustainability, flexibility, and adaptation.

The flexible wooden partition walls – developed by Gatóo as part of her Cambridge PhD research – are made using kerfing, which allows wood to bend without breaking, the same technique employed in the construction of guitars and other stringed instruments.

Researchers at Cambridge’s Centre for Natural Material Innovation and partners PLP Architecture have just unveiled Ephemeral, an innovative alternative using engineered wood, at the London Design Biennale at London’s Somerset House (1st – 25th June 2023).

Researchers at Cambridge’s Centre for Natural Material Innovation and partners PLP Architecture have just unveiled Ephemeral, an innovative alternative using engineered wood, at the London Design Biennale at London’s Somerset House (1st – 25th June 2023).

The resulting wooden walls are simple, resilient, foldable, and movable, meaning they can respond to the changing needs of residents, for instance, as children are born or leave the nest; as age or mobility bring changing requirements; or as homeworking patterns change.

Gatóo says: “Self-assembly and modular furniture have improved so many people’s lives. We’ve developed something similar but for walls so people can take total control of their interior spaces.”

“If you have lots of money, you can hire a designer and alter the interiors of your house, but if you don’t, you’re stuck with very rigid systems that could be decades out-of-date. You might be stuck with more rooms than you need, or too few. We want to empower people to make their spaces their own.”

The team’s ‘rooms of requirement’ provide elegant, affordable solutions which can be built into the fabric of the building from its first design, or seamlessly retrofitted – avoiding the mountains of carbon associated with demolition and reconstruction.

Gatóo says: “We’re using engineered timber, which is affordable and sustainable. It’s a natural material which stores carbon, and when you don’t need it anymore, you can make something else with it. So, you are creating minimal waste.”

Gatóo and her colleagues are based in the University of Cambridge’s Centre for Natural Material Innovation, a world leader in research into innovative and sustainable uses of timber in construction.

The team emphasises that their system could be used anywhere in the world, in workplaces as well as in homes, and the researchers have already had encouraging conversations with industry, including with affordable housing developers in India.

Gatóo says: “I’ve worked in development and post-disaster housing with NGOs in many countries around the world, always using sustainable materials.

“When I started my PhD, I wanted to merge making housing more affordable and social with technical innovation and sustainability. This is what our cities of the future need – caring for people and the environment at the same time.”

Implemented at scale, this innovation could change the construction industry for the better, empowering people to adapt their spaces to their needs while slashing housing costs and overcoming some of the hurdles which the construction industry must tackle to be part of a sustainable future.

Working with Cambridge Enterprise, the research team is seeking industry and policy partners to further advance product feasibility for industry-wide adoption.

The project is supported by PLP Architecture, The Laudes Foundation, the Future Observatory and the AHRC Design Accelerator.

 

Facebook

Read More

Luke Waters, of Salix Road, Hampton Hargate, used social media to boost about the high life – ultimately it contributed to his downfall Luke Waters, of Salix Road, Hampton Hargate, used social media to boost about the high life – ultimately it contributed to his downfall
News3 hours ago

Sorry Luke £48,000 won’t cut the mustard but another £176,000 will do nicely, a court decides

Jailed Peterborough drug dealer given 3 months to pay

Jamie Pretlove, 32, was confronted by the victim after she discovered “flirty” messages from him to another woman on his phone. Jamie Pretlove, 32, was confronted by the victim after she discovered “flirty” messages from him to another woman on his phone.
News3 hours ago

Man quizzed over ‘flirty’ texts batters girl friend with suitcase after she challenged him

Attacker found guilty of intentional strangulation

Residents and even the town council want Fenland District Council to refuse its own application to fell a 50- to 60-year-old protected oak tree off Bridle Close, Chatteris. PHOTO: Terry Harris Residents and even the town council want Fenland District Council to refuse its own application to fell a 50- to 60-year-old protected oak tree off Bridle Close, Chatteris. PHOTO: Terry Harris
News23 hours ago

Furious residents hit back at Fenland District Council’s bid to fell protected oak tree

Chatteris town council says 'no proof the tree is causing any problem'

Karolis Tauckela, 27, was arrested in the early hours of Wednesday morning (19 June) by road policing officers. Karolis Tauckela, 27, was arrested in the early hours of Wednesday morning (19 June) by road policing officers.
News1 day ago

Man charged after £600,000 car thefts in Crowland, Spalding, Whittlesey, Pinchbeck, Harston, Melton Mowbray

Accused bailed but tagged and passport confiscated

March for Free Palestine Peterborough. The march left Lincoln Road Park and ended at Cathedral Square where speakers addressed the public. Lincoln Road / Cathedral Square, Peterborough Sunday 23 June 2024. Picture by Terry Harris. March for Free Palestine Peterborough. The march left Lincoln Road Park and ended at Cathedral Square where speakers addressed the public. Lincoln Road / Cathedral Square, Peterborough Sunday 23 June 2024. Picture by Terry Harris.
News1 day ago

GALLERY and VIDEO: Huge turn out for Peterborough March for a Free Palestine

Dean of Peterborough explains why he withdrew as a rally speaker

Hustings chair Amir Suleman was described in pre hustings publicity as “accomplished presenter and host since 2008. He is a freelance presenter with BBC Radio Cambridgeshire and also a volunteer radio presenter with Salaam Radio in Peterborough since 2016”. Hustings chair Amir Suleman was described in pre hustings publicity as “accomplished presenter and host since 2008. He is a freelance presenter with BBC Radio Cambridgeshire and also a volunteer radio presenter with Salaam Radio in Peterborough since 2016”.
News3 days ago

Media banned from Peterborough hustings event chaired by BBC Radio Cambridgeshire presenter

Advance publicity stated it was a 'public' meeting

Flashback to beginning of May when Mr Browne reported that over 570 people had shared concerns and comments about Longsands and Ernulf over the previous month. He is pictured with schools minister Damian Hinds discussing the concerns. Flashback to beginning of May when Mr Browne reported that over 570 people had shared concerns and comments about Longsands and Ernulf over the previous month. He is pictured with schools minister Damian Hinds discussing the concerns.
News3 days ago

OPINION: There is clearly something deeply dysfunctional going on to drive teachers to leave in such high numbers

'The head at Ernulf has resigned -27 teachers to leave Longsands'

Matt Howard (left) head of insolvency and recovery at Price Bailey and (right) Stuart Morton, a Price Bailey partner and insolvency practitioner. Centre is Simon Somerville-Large, founder and sole director of Laragh House Developments Ltd. Matt Howard (left) head of insolvency and recovery at Price Bailey and (right) Stuart Morton, a Price Bailey partner and insolvency practitioner. Centre is Simon Somerville-Large, founder and sole director of Laragh House Developments Ltd.
News3 days ago

Joint insolvency practitioners appointed to Laragh House Developments Ltd

A CVL is an insolvent liquidation process initiated by shareholders or directors

Ely taxi driver Jerzy Masjanis has had his joint hackney carriage and private hire driver licence revoked Ely taxi driver Jerzy Masjanis has had his joint hackney carriage and private hire driver licence revoked
News4 days ago

Rude taxi driver who also nearly ran over woman and her dog has licence revoked

Ely taxi driver 'demonstrated a history of non-compliance'

Swimmers take to the pool at 4am for a sunrise swim on the Summer Solstice. City lido, Peterborough Thursday 20 June 2024. Picture by Terry Harris. Swimmers take to the pool at 4am for a sunrise swim on the Summer Solstice. City lido, Peterborough Thursday 20 June 2024. Picture by Terry Harris.
News5 days ago

WATCH: ‘Hooray an’ up she rises, early in the morning’ for summer solstice Peterborough swim

Lido promises 'a truly magical experience'