On the site of an old primary school in Bramley, Leeds is LILAC, the UK's first affordable, ecological co-housing project. The development of twenty houses and apartments welcomed its first residents in March 2013 and has since won multiple design and sustainability awards. The Low Impact Living Affordable Community LILAC, is a cohousing group who have commissioned the housing project with the assistance of the Homes and Communities Agency, the Technology Strategy Board (now Innovate UK) and White Design.
The design of LILAC mixes private dwellings and shared facilities. The common house includes shared facilities like kitchen and dining area, laundry, multi-purpose room, guest room and workshop. The site arrangement is in a courtyard formation and is based around a car-free home zone, communal gardens, beautiful green spaces, areas for growing food and ample cycle storage. There is limited on-site parking to reduce carbon emissions and all residents sign a pledge which commits them to the philosophy of the group.
Using the ModCell system the homes are incredibly thermally efficient. Researchers from Bath University monitored the development and found that fuel bills within the homes were up to 90 per cent lower than an average house.
The design is contemporary and sets a new standard for both environmental performance and house design in suburban environments demonstrating that developers and architects needn’t choose between style and function.
Use of Timber
The units use the innovative ‘ModCell’ building system to provide an environmentally sensitive approach to suburban housing which is unique to the UK. The construction is a mixture of timber frame and straw bale structural panels finished in a mixture of lime render and timber, with timber frame internal partitioning.
Further information & images: www.white-design.com/architecture/all-projects/lilac/