While there have been decades of discussion in the housing industry about modern methods of construction, there are few actual examples of turning visions into reality. However, this pioneering project demonstrates the potential of a new approach to speed up housing delivery.
Students at the Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology campus, are housed in a groundbreaking new undergraduate village of timber modular-housing pods, with communal facilities and a central social and learning hub.
This project is outstanding in many ways – in terms of the pod design and construction, the landscaped setting and the inclusion of a circular pavilion, called The Roundhouse, for social and educational events.
The high-quality, 8m x 4m pods were fabricated from cross-laminate timber (CLT) in a factory for rapid on-site assembly. Each pod has open-plan accommodation comprising an entrance zone with an adjacent shower and toilet, a central bedroom area and a work/living space. They have been arranged in units, two to three-storeys high, to create a welcoming social space and an appealing addition to the campus. The pods are designed to harness CLT’s thermal massing, and provide high quality and energy-efficient living spaces. With wellbeing as a prime design consideration, each pod has natural ventilation and large, triple-glazed windows providing light and views.
The Roundhouse is conceived as a freestanding, transparent and outward-facing circular pavilion. The lightweight steel structure is formed of two stacked cylinders, surmounted by an oversailing brise soleil roof. Its facilities include a café, bar, lecture hall and study space.