A two stage open design competition to design a two bedroom house suitable for island locations which is affordable to build and heat. The objective of the competition is to help community landowners to use their land to enable the development of well designed warm, affordable housing for rent and ownership. The winning house to be built on community owned land in three island locations.

The Competition

Sponsored by:

The Prince’s Countryside Fund | Highlands & Islands Enterprise |Scottish Sea Farms|UPM TilhillBSW Timber Group

This competition, organised by Rural Housing Scotland and Architecture and Design Scotland (A+DS) invites design practices to prepare proposals for a two bedroom affordable house to be built in three locations across the Hebrides.

The competition is open to all small practices, with 5 or fewer ARB registered staff members. Entrants need to be able to carry out the project if selected. Rural Housing Scotland is the project sponsor and is managing the contractual process.

The competition will be run in two stages. This first phase invites applicants to develop concept designs only, from which 5 entrants will be invited to proceed to Stage 2. For Stage 2, 5 applicants will be asked to develop detailed technical, deliverable designs, fully costed and technically robust. Stage 2 designs will be in respect of a site at Dervaig owned by North West Mull Community Woodlands Company.

Shortlisted entries will receive a £500 stipend with the eventual winner being awarded a £1500 prize. Rural Housing Scotland plans to develop the winning design in conjunction with three community landowners. The winning architect will be contracted for the proposed development(s) at normal fee rates.

The shortlist will be announced on Thursday 5th December 2013 at 12 Noon on our website. The winner will be announced at the Rural Housing Scotland Annual Conference on 28 February 2014.

The Challenge

Building affordable housing in island communities can be difficult due to the high cost of transporting materials and labour. The small developments required generate few economies of scale restricting the viability of projects. Household incomes are also low and often unpredictable limiting the borrowing available to island households. Whilst incomes are low, fuel costs are high as most island households are limited to electricity or oil as heating sources.

Our Island Home aims to tackle these issues by developing an affordable island starter house that is:

• easy to build – to facilitate self build, and fast assembly to minimise the travel and subsistence costs associated with island construction;
• easy/cheap to heat – to help overcome fuel poverty which is more common in the Hebrides than any other part of Scotland; low incomes, poor housing and expensive heating options all contribute.