Innovation Award 2020 - Rightsizing : Slim Down and start up. 2 new housing schemes in Monmouthshire

RIGHTSIZING is an innovative housing project on two sites in Monmouthshire. It has been developed and realised as a design and production for a new flexible housing prototype, tailored for demographics currently overlooked by the housing market: an older generation looking to downsize from larger properties and a younger generation looking for their first property. To achieve the desired flexibility, the project challenged and radically rethought Welsh housing and space standards.

Two locations in South Wales were selected from blighted back-land garage sites for the developments of four houses on each with designs based on the 2016 EPSRC-funded DWELL report and Welsh School of Architecture’s MORE:BETTER report, and market testing and all framed within the requirements of Welsh Government’s Innovation Housing Programme.

The project responds to the IHP programme which invited new ways for

  • DELIVERY PATHWAYS – alternative approaches to procurement and collaborative working
  • HOUSING MODELS – dwelling types that respond to a specific need

The ‘Rightsizing’ project met all of these criteria and the project revealed how new housing models developed in partnership of the whole design and construction team on blighted back-land sites can contribute to meeting emerging ‘novel’ housing need and better places. The houses were rated as outstanding by prospective clients and visitors at recent open days and funding for two further sites has been won from Welsh Government’s Innovative Housing Programme.

Key achievements

New house types for ‘downsizers and first timers’ that are flexible and adaptable

How to design an attractive model for ‘loose-fit’ (flexible) dwellings accommodating the potentially changing needs of a specific population type over time.

  • Culture change within the client and construction team and its supply chain toward innovation and collaboration
  • The project has effected change in that the new processes, behaviours and knowledge required to develop and build homes for the 21st C have been embraced by MHA and its supply chain
  • Exemplary place-making on blighted and neglected back-land sites.