Architect: John Kinsley Architects
Client: Bath Street Collective Custom Build
Structural Engineer: Create Engineering

Project Description

The client is a group of four families who have come together to build a small tenement containing a flat each. Working together, without the involvement of a housebuilder/developer, enables the families to enjoy a bespoke home at a lower price than with a conventional procurement model.

The building is carefully integrated into the street by stepping the façade in both section and plan. A contextual approach also informs materials selection, with the main facade using red sandstone and cast glass.

The scheme is designed to Passivhaus levels of energy and uses a Cross Laminated Timber structural frame.


Innvovation within the Project

The principal innovation has been the procurement route. With no involvement from a housebuilder or developer, the four families who live in the completed building acted as developer themselves in what we have termed a collective custom build approach. This approach, whilst unusual in the UK, is more common in South America and continental Europe. Around 10% of new homes in Berlin, for example, are procured in this way. It offers distinct advantages in terms of:-
i)    Homes are procured at cost since there is no developer’s profit – savings are around 20% compared to ‘market value’.
ii)    Homeowners are directly involved in the design process, enabling bespoke designs for each home.
iii)    Capital formation remains in the community rather than being taken out by a developer.
iv)    Homeowners are more motivated to deliver a higher quality project than a developer, who can simply walk away upon completion.

The structural frame of the building is fabricated offsite from cross laminated timber enabling savings in programme, providing healthier internal finishes and reducing embodied energy. At the time of building, it was the largest CLT frame in Scotland.

The building uses zero fossil fuels. High levels of insulation and air tightness have removed any requirement for central heating. Hot water and cooking are all electric, with a commitment from all occupants to procure electricity from 100% renewal sources.