Design competition

Harris Irwin Architects has held an internal design competition as part of its drive towards designing its first ‘net zero’ care home.

Design competition

We tasked teams from our three offices in Yorkshire, London and the Netherlands to prepare an outline design project which would not only deliver a functional care home, but one which was fully carbon neutral.

The teams worked over several months to hone their designs, which were formed from a ‘brief’ for a notional 64-bedroom net zero home in Sussex, to be delivered for a fictional care home operator. This culminated in a judging day which took place at Harris Irwin’s head office near Richmond, North Yorkshire, on 1st February.

Harris Irwin Director Ian Holme and Associate Director Ian David were joined on the judging panel by Helen Davies-Parsons, Chief Executive of Dormy Care Communities and Business Mentor John Bryan,

Each team had to present their research/concept/design to the Panel with a scoring matrix, covering areas such as skills and experience, design concept, the practicality of the design, and the cost and buildability factor, determining the winner.

It was an extremely close fought contest with only two points separating all three, but the team led by Associate, Richard Woodcock claimed the honours.

Their design solution included an exploration of features including passive stack ventilation, ground source heating system and natural construction materials including dowel laminated timber . The choice of these materials was carefully integrated into the overall design concept to deliver a homely care environment which would benefit the well-being of residents, staff and visitors alike.

Helen Davies-Parsons said: “We were very impressed by all three presentations and it was clear a lot of time, thought and effort had gone into designing these concept net zero care homes.

“We felt the winning team just had the edge when it came to the practical application of the design. They made full use of the space, surrounding environment and technology to produce a fully sustainable care home of the future.”

Ian Holme said: “Harris Irwin Architects is committed as a Practice to lowering our own carbon footprint but also looking at ways we can design more sensitively and advise our respected clients on measures to mitigate carbon emissions.

“We would particularly wish to thank Helen for her valuable time today, bring with her vast expertise and knowledge from an operational and care perspective.”

“We are therefore excited about the prospect of being able to design our first, real, net zero care home and this competition demonstrated that we have the skills and expertise to achieve this.

“We will now be building on this further by using all three submissions to produce an exemplar model for future projects.”