Students produce sustainable housing designs for Countesswells site

Architecture Technology students at Robert Gordon University (RGU) have responded to the Aberdeen local development plan by drawing up proposals for new sustainable housing in the city.

James Cockburn house design 2015The Stage 2 students were set a project brief of designing high quality sustainable housing for a site that has already been earmarked for development in Countesswells in the current local development plan.

The class responded to a hypothetical brief that a showcase of innovative housing was to be developed and designed to the west of the city. 

Course leader Jonathan Scott explained: “The housing showcase brief was to split the site into four zones; Prefabrication; Innovative Materials; Passive Solar Design, and Zero Carbon. The students were to investigate each of these in groups, then individually develop a project that encapsulated one of these four aspects.
“As part of the project, the students were also looking at modern living and contemporary designs such as earth walls, live/work units and innovative concrete construction systems.”

He added: “It is important for students to have a sound knowledge of sustainable building techniques as these are hugely important for future development across the country.”

Lauren Livingston (20) was one of the students involved in the project and designed a zero carbon house for the site.

She said: “My idea when designing the building was to tie the design back to the roots of Aberdeen, looking at Footdee for inspiration.

“Within the interior space of the property I wanted to make a feature of the thermal mass wall. The concrete wall has floating oak stairs and a table protruding out from it, making a modern statement while also acting as shelves.”

Lauren added: “This is a very self-sufficient building which passes as a zero carbon house. It has a very high fabric energy efficiency along with photovoltaics and a ground source heat pump the building produces and obtains its own heat and electricity. 

“With a zero carbon house you must also think about the end user so I’ve incorporated a live-work space to allow working from home.”   

Classmate James Cockburn incorporated the use of innovative materials in his plans and explained: “The building must utilise innovative materials focusing on low embodied energy features. Hence my design includes the use of rammed earth technology for the structures walling systems and a large glazed section maximising natural light.

“I found this project to be very intricate and complex yet mostly inspiring.”   

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Jenny RushCommunications Officer | Design and Technology