- Permaculture CoHousingA sustainable housing project in Sheffield
- My MArch project investigated alternative housing models and ways of reusing post industrial sites to create a communal housing scheme combined with a strong environmental
As a member of MArch Studio 8 ‘Housing +’ I investigated alternative methods of providing housing in post industrial Attercliffe, a town on the edge of Sheffield. My project attempts to combine a cohousing scheme with an integrated environmental strategy based in the ideas of Permaculture, on the vacant canal side site of a former steel works.
Research into bioremediation led to the conclusion that to decontaminate a 1ha concrete slab up to a metre thick would require the excavation and removal of the polluted material, only to move the problem elsewhere. I decided on a less invasive approach. Instead of removing the waste material it was accepted as part of the project, and reused (safely contained) in the construction of a layered system of housing, services, and gardens, stacked one on top of the other to create a raised landscape of walkways and courtyards meandering through a grid of houses clad in hydroponic wall panels, which provide areas for much needed greenery and garden space.
The University of Sheffield
School of Architecture
MArch Studio 8 Housing+
Tutors: Cristina Cerulli, Tatjana Schneider
- The Permaculture Flower, Reworked
- Comparing Housing Models
- CoHousing Model
- Supporting Program
- The components of the cohousing 'system' are a number of dwellings supported by communal social infrastructure - places for shared cooking and meals, creches, workshop facilities, tool libraries - and shared power generation, car pool and allotment spaces. These mesh neatly with the philosophies of Permaculture, an environmental practice concerned with intensifying the use of space and resources, matching outputs from processes with inputs from others as much as possible to efficiently generate the most yields with the least waste.
- The Site By The Canal
- The Overgrown Oasis
Slightly detached from the remaining industrial parts of Attercliffe and raised above road level, the site feels like a calm waterside retreat.
- Modeling The Slab
- Using the existing falls to create reed beds
- Modifying The Slab
- The Reed Bed Layer
- Connecting The Processing Units
- Deck Access Level
- Housing Layer
- Functions Stacked On Slab
- Greenwall Conceptual Model
- Contrasting Front/Back Facade Sketches
- Site Planning
- Site Plan
- Axonometric Use Diagram
- Sketch Section Through Site
- Creating Enclosed Courtyards
- The Environmental Infrastructure System
- Components At Slab Level
Reed beds built into raised vehicle tracks process the waste water output from the composting toilet systems.
Raised beds to provide some growing space for grass and vegetables.
- Components For Wildlife
Wild spaces are parts of the site left as they are - colonised by Buddleah bushes providing habitat for insects and birds. Comfrey is grown in beds using the organic fertiliser from the composting toilets. This plant can be made into a liquid fertiliser for use on the green walls. Ponds for wildlife and the water cleaned by the reed beds. Excess clean water drains into the canal.
- Processing Units
These units serve each cluster of 2 to 4 houses and contain a mini CHP plant, an 'Aquatron' waste-separating compost toilet unit and a rainwater butt and pump to feed the greenwalls.
- Housing Level
The dwellings are constructed from cross laminated timber panels allowing for uninterrupted internal spaces which can be altered to suit the inhabitants.
- Potential Configurations
The short terraces can be divided up to create combinations of houses and apartments of different sizes on various levels.
- Green Walls
A substitute for traditional horizontal growing spaces, the green walls allow for a variety of produce to be grown at appropriate heights.
- Green Walls
The hydroponic greenwall panels use mineral wool substrate instead of soil and require nutrients in the form of liquid fertiliser. The 'comfrey tea' made from the plant grown on site is used as this fertiliser and mixed with the water pumped to the panels.
- Detailed Construction Section