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Work gets underway on prototype ‘Curriculum House’

May 8 2015

Work gets underway on prototype ‘Curriculum House’
BRE and New College Lanarkshire have begun work on a student designed prototype family home designed to demonstrate how future housing can be built and showcase new technologies.

The Curriculum House is being built at the BRE Innovation Park in Ravenscraig using a timber kit, flexible construction which can be assembled on-site by the students themselves within a matter of days.

Incorporating low-waste construction methods and demountable partitions the scheme will be one of the most highly insulated builds in the country.

Michael McGuire, course leader of HND Architectural Technology at New College Lanarkshire, said: “We are delighted that our students’ design for the Curriculum House is being realised here in the heart of Ravenscraig and so close to our Motherwell Campus. The project has reinforced to our students that what they are learning is giving them the knowledge and skills required to be successful in the architectural industry. This is an opportunity of a lifetime to create a unique and exciting project that should not only showcase the skill and motivation of our students and staff to the rest of the UK, but also worldwide.”

Once complete the house will serve as a teaching aid and demonstration laboratory for new technologies as well as long term performance monitoring.


Michael McGuire
#1 Posted by Michael McGuire on 8 May 2015 at 12:06 PM
The student responsible for the image is Emma Armstrong. Year 1 computer aided architectural design and technology student. :)

Auntie Nairn
#2 Posted by Auntie Nairn on 11 May 2015 at 13:55 PM
Well done to the students on the HND Architectural Technology course. Nothing beats the experience of actually seeing your designs realised!!
Now, I'll try to put this diplomatically, but maybe a collaboration with some Architecture students might have improved the design - after all, Architects and Technologists collaborate all the time in the 'real world'.
#3 Posted by neil on 12 May 2015 at 11:19 AM
#2 - It would probably help the architecture students as well.
Auntie Nairn
#4 Posted by Auntie Nairn on 12 May 2015 at 13:13 PM
#3 - It absolutely would.
How can you ask someone else to build something without knowing how it should go together yourself? The biggest problem with recent Architecture graduates is that they have no interest in construction.
#5 Posted by James on 12 May 2015 at 15:04 PM
Brilliant initiative!! Well done all concerned for making that a reality. The only 1:1 thing I built in 5 years as an architecture student was made out of canes and string...
They will learn enormous amounts from this.
#6 Posted by visitor on 13 May 2015 at 09:54 AM
Anything that gets students on a real project, on a real building site, before graduation is a great thing. This applies to Technicians / technologists and architects. The demise of the apprenticeship / day-release technician is a shame. Degree educated trechnicians and architects often start out their career without having physically witnessed a concrete pour, seen steel being erected, or put one brick on top of another.
Initiatives like this are fantastic for all concerned.
#7 Posted by mark on 13 May 2015 at 23:29 PM
So technologists can't design? I'm a chartered architectural technologist and i disagree with that statement. It is that attitude that is stopping AT's from progressing in this industry. Show me any 2nd year architect student that can design better than this. Good on you. this is one of the best projects I have ever seen in education.
Aidan Skiffington
#8 Posted by Aidan Skiffington on 14 May 2015 at 06:54 AM
I was involved in the early stages of the curriculum house and reading the comment about a collaboration with architecture students to help the design, I don't feel this would have helped. The Architectural Technology course is fantastic and although mostly computer and technical based, it has a strong presence of design work. I think the design is great. It was designed entirely around functionality and sustainability. With a design that influenced solar shading. I could go on about the process however. In my opinion and I think I speak for most graduates of the Architectural Technologist course that the course gives a very detailed all round learning of the industry and prepares students for the working environment. To be apart of the curriculum house was an excellent experience and it's definately helped me start my career as an Architectural Technologist.
boaby wan
#9 Posted by boaby wan on 14 May 2015 at 10:12 AM
mark, if you can see around that massive chip on your shoulder, you will see that no one had said "technologists can't design" - there is no denying that this is a great initiative, but to my mind it could be improved with collaboration with a full (student) design team to reflect real world situations and maybe arrive at a more elegant design.
I have worked with lots of technologists in my time and it's fair to say some were great designers, others not so much - almost identical to the experience of other architects. There is nothing "stopping AT's from progressing" apart from the individual.
Michael McGuire
#10 Posted by Michael McGuire on 14 May 2015 at 10:29 AM
Thank you all for your kind comments, they are very much appreciated, and no need to put things delicately, I appreciate all of your feedback.
I have been contacted via twitter directly from this article, and thought I would comment here also.
We don't deliver the traditional architectural technology course at New College Lanarkshire, our custom designed course balances design with building science and computer aided technology. This is only one of a few real world projects our AT students are currently working on, we are planning a youth group cabin for outward bound adventures also. Curriculum House was discussed around three years ago as BRE opened the Innovation Park only half a mile from the college. We felt it was too good an opportunity to miss and the proximity of the park has allowed the students to be heavily involved in the other experimental projects that have been constructed there, which will see a total of nine homes when the park is complete. The drive behind the project was that it had to be designed and built by our students.
As we are a community college, many of our students live in areas of deprivation are come to us straight from school with few or no higher qualifications. Many of them had no qualifications at all leaving school, and started on our NC course, which upon completion allowed them to progress onto the HNC.
The design, planning and building control submission was to be a year 1 and 2 AT project, while the construction would be handled by the students in the construction faculty of our college. This was a major influence in how the shape of the building developed. Nothing too organic or far from vernacular as the construction courses focus on traditional construction. It had to be built by young pre-apprentice and apprentice students. The other main influence was in the companies who were willing to partner us. We had little budget, so we couldn’t simply design anything, it had to meet the budget and suit the systems available to us.
Personally I am very proud to have been involved in the project with this group of students who constantly amazed me in how they approached not only the design, but in choosing the wall / floor systems etc, even the air handling and heating systems. They invited the companies into college and convinced them to partner us in this project and challenged planning and building control when they saw fit, and amending their drawings when they didn't win :) (life lessons learned at times).

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