A self-build housing co-operative built in timber frame, around a communal garden, in the early 1990s.
|Number of homes||11 affordable units|
|Completed on site||1993|
CHISEL Housing Association helped to facilitate the formation of a housing co-operative, and supported the establishment of the project. The co-operative members were actively involved in selecting architects and the designs of the project. They had to contribute a certain number of hours to the construction of the project every week, alongside formal employment or other duties, as a condition of the affordable housing grant.
The original residents organised the construction work and physically built their own homes, learning a great deal through the process.
The site off Drakefell Road in Brockley was originally owned by the Council, but had not been used for council housing by the 1990s. As a relatively small site it was available for development.
Car parking is provided in one part of site, leaving the rest of the site available to group houses around a shared garden space in the middle of the site. Access to individual homes increases the chance of bumping into neighbours and building a strong sense of community.
The houses were designed in close consultation with the group and individuals. Variations to the basic layout were easily achievable as the wall elements are independent of the structural frame.
The simple timber frame method was pioneered by architect Walter Segal on self-build schemes in the early 1980s, although it has had to be developed and updated to meet more recent construction standards. It has been particularly suitable for people without previous building experience as it makes economical use of ‘off the shelf’ materials, detailed to require as little cutting as possible, while keeping the construction process largely ‘on-site’.
The structure uses small pad foundations at the foot of each post. This allows development close to mature trees without expensive retaining structures. The houses incorporate energy saving features and environmentally-healthy specifications.