This housing is located in the suburbs of Milton Keynes, north of London. Taking up a government challenge in 2005, the architects have pushed pre-fab concepts to a new level, creating energy-efficient, affordable apartments that dramatically lower construction costs. Oxley Woods designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners and developed by George Wimpey win Housing Design Award from Department for Communities and Local Government.
The major elements are built in a factory, using recycled materials. Once the materials are on site, it takes about 18 hours to assemble a unit. The overall construction cost is under �60,000 (about $120,000).
To make savings while improving quality, the partners considered a wide range of options before settling on a practical way to cut on-site construction costs, by fabricating timber frames for walls, ceilings and floors in a controlled, factory environment. The combined approach of the housebuilder and architect was to design each home with two distinct zones � a �service zone�, incorporating bathrooms, utility space, boilers and staircases, and an uncluttered �living zone� comprising bedrooms, living rooms and dining rooms.
The �working� parts of each house � stairs, heating, ventilation, plumbing, and power, which are complex, yet highly standardised parts � are pre-fabricated, allowing the remaining �living� space to be treated as a highly flexible shell. Components could then be delivered to the site as a �flat pack� ready to be assembled in just 31 days, providing a huge saving on on-site construction costs, while still maintaining the quality of the finished product.
A red �eco-hat,� which helps circulate air and works as a solar panel, helps cut carbon emissions anywhere from 25 to 50 percent.
The EcoHat is a new generation of chimney stack which sits on top of the services spine, filters all fresh air coming in to the building, and reuses hot air circulating through the stack � complemented by solar energy � to optimise energy consumption and as an optional extra can also provide passive solar water heating.
In addition to the EcoHat, there are plenty of other energysavers hidden in each Oxley Woods home. These include high levels of insulation � much of it made from recycled materials � to an air-tight build. Such features combined could potentially help occupiers make significant savings on their energy bills as well as helping each property to achieve the maximum National Home Energy Rating and a �Very Good� EcoHomes classification.