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Competition: Theo and Oskar’s New Home, England

Colander Associates has announced a design competition for a disabled-friendly family home in Surrey, England – with the entire process set to be filmed by the client for cinema and television (Deadline: 7 November)

Open to architects and designers under 40, the single-stage contest will deliver a ‘light, spacious and barrier-free home’ for the clients’ two sons who suffer from Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMH).

The project – dubbed ‘Theo and Oskar’s New Home’ – is backed by filmmaker Nick Taussig who founded the award-winning film finance and production firm Salon.

Surrey, England

Surrey, England

The Taussig home in Box Bill

According to the brief: ‘He will be filming the competition process, from conception through to the selection of the winning team, including sessions with the jury panel and interviews with shortlisted teams, as well as the subsequent building process.

‘It is the intention that the resultant documentary will play at film festivals, be broadcast on domestic television, and sold for foreign broadcast.’

Named after French neurologist Guillaume-Benjamin-Amand Duchenne, DMH is a fatal inherited condition which causes muscle gradual weakness and is only detectable in early childhood. Five year old Theo and three year old Oskar were diagnosed with the condition two years ago.

Surrey, England

Surrey, England

The contest site in Box Hill

The £100,000 project will transform the Taussig’s two-bedroom 1930s bungalow in Box Hill, Surrey into the ‘best possible barrier free home’ for the children.

The winning team will create an environment which maximises the children’s freedom of movement and improves the feeling of connections to the outside world and garden.

Bedrooms opening on the garden, potential accommodation for a live-in carer, and demolition of an existing garage will also be required.

Applications should include four A4-sized pages detailing skills, expertise, key responses to the brief, interest in the project and why the team should be considered. A short CV and case study of a previous project should also be included.

Judges include Nick Taussig and Klara Taussig, John McAslan of John McAslan & Partners, British Psychological Society associate fellow Suky Macpherson and the artist Richard Long.

Three shortlisted teams will be invited to attend interviews during the week commencing 21 November. The two runner-up teams will receive £200 each while the winner will take home £600 and the design commission.

How to apply

Deadline

The deadline for applications is midday on 7 November

Contact details

Colander Associates
Hill House
Fox Hill
London
SE19 2XA

Tel: 020 8771 6445
Email: louise@colander.co.uk

View the competition website for more information

Ramp House case study: Q&A with Thea McMillan

The design director at Chambers McMillan Architects discusses lessons learned designing a barrier free home for her family in Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh, Scotland

Source: Image by David Barbour

Ramp House by Chambers McMillan Architects

How did your Ramp House project deliver a ‘barrier-free, fully accessible’ environment for your family?

The principle of the ramp house was to design and build our family home for a little girl who is a wheelchair user, where the whole house enables her to lead a barrier free included life. Using a ramp to access all levels, provides an equality of space to us all. We have designed spaces along the ramp, connecting both horizontally and vertically, so that the experience of the house changes as it unfolds.

Which architectural, material and structural methods did you harness to guarantee the project’s success?

Designing as a family, we were able to consider what sorts of things we wanted to do in our house, and how. We used lots of models to make the design process accessible for the children. The built result has made such a difference to our everyday life: for a child who cannot move around independently, the connectivity of the spaces becomes all the more important. If Greta is in the living room, there are six different spaces that we can be in and move between, and she is still able to see and hear us, and communicate with us. Because of the articulation of the different spaces within the open plan, there are many opportunities for privacy and seclusion whilst still being part of the life of the house.

Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh, Scotland

Source: Image by David Barbour

Ramp House by Chambers McMillan Architects

What issues might be important when converting an existing building into an accessible home for a family such as the Taussigs?

It will be even more important than usual to work with the family developing a brief, and finding spatial solutions to their needs. Working with the whole family to create a family home that works for them all: easy and inclusive accessibility, as well as spaces that enable the children to keep and develop independence within their home. In our case, the visual and aural connections were important to keep Greta involved. For the Taussigs there will be other inclusive considerations which can be discovered and developed during the design stage. Our accessible family home allows Greta’s friends to come and hang out with her in a built environment designed to enable her to play just like any other twelve year old. The wider impact of an inclusive house like this, is that people who come to visit us experience a different way of moving around a house, and understand that accessibility does not need to be about constrictions, but can be a delight.

Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh, Scotland

Source: Image by David Barbour

Ramp House by Chambers McMillan Architects

Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh, Scotland

Source: Image by David Barbour

Ramp House by Chambers McMillan Architects