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Plot first; design later

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PROTOHOME launches in Newcastle

 

31st May 2016

Working alongside an architect and a joiner, a group of homeless individuals in Newcastle has developed a model of timber frame self build that’s is specifically designed for those without construction experience. 

Working alongside an architect and a joiner, a group of homeless individuals in Newcastle has developed a model of timber frame self build that’s is specifically designed for those without construction experience.The PROTOHOME project has been led by Crisis, the national charity for single homelessness, xsite architecture and TILT Artistic Services. It is in affiliation with Newcastle City Council and forms part of a research project at Durham University by artist Julia Heslop.

The aim of the project was to create a ‘shell’ structure that offers a vision of how this model could be developed into working housing in the future. “Crisis found that there has been a huge rise in rough sleeping, which increased by 55% in England from 2010-2014,” says Julia Hislop, project initiator. “PROTOHOME has been constructed by members of Crisis over the past three months and is now temporarily sited in the Ouseburn area of Newcastle and open to the public until August.”

The design and build process emphasised learning – long term personal development and employment opportunities for participants. “For the individuals involved in the project who have experienced homelessness, building has been a learning process, one that has been therapeutic, has helped to build confidence and has forged friendships and social ties.”

The structure was developed through hands on workshops with TILT Artistic Services at Crisis Skylight Centre, Newcastle. Participants were given training in design and joinery, which formed part of qualifications in health and safety and using hand tools, and also documented the process through film and photography. “Training and skilling up are at the heart of the project – the learning process is just as important as the product. The process was designed to act as a stepping stone to other more formal education or employment opportunities,” says Julia.

Now completed, the house is being used to host a programme of events and exhibitions examining the collaborative design/build process and wider issues relating to housing and homelessness. “It will host a range of events, from film screenings, to artist residencies, forums, workshops, performances and more, examining issues of self-build housing, homelessness, austerity and the politics of land and development,” explains Julia.

For more information on the project, visit: protohome.co.uk

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