17 May 2024

The Clay Community

In collaboration with Lehm Ton Erde and Stonewood builders, the studio have devised The Clay Community, a planned rammed-earth housing scheme located in the village of Hambrook, Gloucestershire. The site has a clay soil profile ideal for rammed earth construction, close to numerous building waste sites where aggregate can be combined into the material mix.

Our design prioritises relationships between house and street, with a generous overhanging canopy protruding from the front terraced elevations. Delicate rainwater downpipes appear to elegantly prop the roof, articulating a rhythmic colonnade. This provides a social space for residents to gather and sit outside their houses whilst being protected from the elements; built in planting beds and benches further contribute to this bond to communal gardens and walkways.

The development consists of 30 houses in semi-detached or terraced arrangement, composed from prefabricated rammed earth blocks which can be manufactured locally and assembled expeditiously. A combination of 1 and 2 bedroom flats will sit alongside 2 and 3 bedroom houses, lining streets that will be accessible and inclusive.

Our design references the local Georgian terraced vernacular, utilising the philosophy of constructing with readily available materials; to imagine a new typology defined by local craft. Motifs such as bay windows and door canopies are streamlined and implemented in a contemporary order. The prefabricated blocks lend the scheme to be adapted across the UK as a solution to how we design social housing in a considered, regenerative manner.

The Clay Community was recently shortlisted for the 2024 Pineapple Awards.

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