LONDON – Homeshell House by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners is currently installed in the Annenberg Courtyard at The Royal Academy of Arts in London. The prototype house coincides with the ‘Richard Rogers RA: Inside Out’ exhibition on from 13 August – 8 September 2013.

The house’s red and green façade contrasts sharply against its background of eighteenth-century buildings. A comparison of the two types of construction clarifies the aims of this building system initiative, which is to show the differences between old and new London, the old and new economy and old and new construction methods, and the need of the building industry to adapt to these changes.

Homeshell House was constructed using a building system called Insulshell. According to Andy Redfearn, Director of Housing and Development for YMCA London South West, the system can be used to build ‘high-quality, well-designed houses quickly and significantly cheaper than other traditional methods of construction’. 

Insulshell consists of prefabricated, insulated structural panels with high thermal performance up to 20-m high. Structures assembled using these panels can be erected in days by ‘three men and a crane’ and adapted to different urban locations, including brownfield sites since they are lightweight. Insulshell’s lower cost (compared to traditional building techniques) means that this system could help kick start more social housing building programmes in the UK and combat the country’s housing shortage.

Photos courtesy of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners