Sunday, 19 August 2012


Recently I took a part in the International competition hosted by Building Trust international. The competition seeks solutions for a low-cost ($30,000) single occupancy house within an urban area of a developed country. This was an opportunity for me to implement ideas which I have been preoccupied with during last 3 years. These ideas are about small space.

Dundee City, Angus, Scotland, UK: population 152,320 (2008)

There are growing signs of affordable housing shortages in Dundee City area.
   *In the last year 863 social sector properties have been lost through sale or demolition.
   *There were 1,252 households assessed as homeless in 2011-2012.
   *The total number of households on the main council housing list, which includes the transfer list, was 8,518 in March 2011.
   *43,000 properties in Dundee City currently fail the Scottish Housing Quality Standard.
Schelter Scotland [online] Available from:

In the past decade Dundee City Council has carried out a large scale demolition programme to deal with inadequate housing.
Demolition significantly is changing the skyline of the city and its density.
There is very little activity in the building sector at this moment with rare exceptions of new homes being built and
some old being refurbished. 

Dundee is generally characterised by low density housing, with relatively large green areas - parks and gardens.
The most common housing types:
1.Victorian terraced tenements, mainly four storeys high.
2.Significant feature - detached family houses creates sub-urban character only 1km distance from the city centre.
3.In proposed area significant part is occupied by two-storey detached houses for 4 households. 

Dundee has an average of 1400 hours of sunshine per year which makes it the sunniest city in Scotland.

“Due to a desire from people to know the origin of their food and because of the recent rise in cost of
food prices there has been resurgence in demand for allotments Scotland-wide and in Dundee.
There are 13 allotment sites in Dundee with responsibility for a total of 600 plots.
Allotment Security has been identified as a problem in many areas of the UK, with many sites
suffering from incidents, vandalism and theft.”
Scottish Allotments and Gardens Society [online] Available from:
The site is located in Dundee's West End approximately 1.5km from the city centre.
It is near to green areas of Balgay Hill and Victoria Park.
The site is resided by City Road Allotments which is owned by City Road Allotments Association.
There are 64 plots of sizes 15x20m located on South faced slope. 
Plot-holders are diverse but mostly they are retired elderly persons who have a free time to spend in the allotment.



Single-person household is the most expensive, energy and space consuming living model in the urban environment.
Therefore its dwelling design should take into account many factors and incorporate wide range of compensatory qualities to be sustainable.

Design looks for ADAPTABLE solution which after small transformations could be used in different environments.
However, the original context is urban Dundee area with its building typology and housing situation.

People by nature are social beings therefore even single-person household dwelling should be involved in some community links.
Design looks for a BALANCED solution which provides both INTIMACY and OPENNESS, SECLUSION and INTERACTIVITY.

There are two main potential target groups for the proposed design in the proposed site:

1st group are HOMELESS people who are interested in a healthy “green” lifestyle.
City Council provides them with low cost houses,
whereas land owner lets the plots for a typical price.
Allotments make gains from PERMANENT INHABITANTS
who provides safety and order of the area.

2nd group are persons who already lease a plot and
owns a flat which is too large or too expensive for them.
In this case these persons could move to affordable
low cost houses but their flats will be available for others. 

Design looks for TRANSFORMABLE solution which provides FLEXIBILITY of space for possible life’s changes.

1. Single person finds another person with whom to share a time and space. Design provides ADDITIONAL living space for up to 2 adults and 1 child.

2. Houses could be located in such a way that provides
possibility to join them together with a common
space or just a canopy.

Design operates with ENERGY EFFICIENT form to achieve COHERENT solution which provides both COMPACTNESS and SPACIOUSNESS.

Continuous and unobstructed movement through the house’s daily life without corridors.

Observing and interacting with the surrounding environment.

Hexagon has a low perimeter for a given area and straight edges to provide functionality.

Key areas: location and features

Layout is divided by zones, zones is separated by “service walls”
Design uses SUSTAINABLE energy solutions.

Roof derives directly from the layout and forms six faces at a 40 degree angle which is most effective to gain from solar energy in Scotland area.
Solar PV panels could be located on 3 of 6 roof faces which allows operate effectively (over 90% of the maximum) during the day in Scotland’s changeable weather conditions. There is possible to place 18 a typical 185 Watt solar panels (1.6x08m) with total area 23m2. Therefore it creates up to 3.3kW array. Potential output of this array could reach 2,500kWh per year which is around 80% of electricity consumption from average single-person household (˜3,000kWh per year).
Surplus electricity could be sold back to the national grid or
collected in a electrical storage (off-grid).
Based on data from

Version ‘M’ with total area 58m2 provides living space in two levels for up to 2 adults and 1 child.

Site plan. Design provides flexibility of locating houses on the site, effective use of land, insolation and unobstructed views.

 Ground floor plan

  Section through entrance

Section through living area

 North elevation

East elevation

South elevation

West elevation

 View from City Road

Friday, 17 August 2012


I am one of 40 shortlisted from more than 400 entrants in student category in the HOME competition by Building Trust International.