Competition – OSB 2030


At Annabel Brown Architect, one of the projects I worked on was a submission for Sterling OSB’s yearly competition; in which they present a theme to respond to, and the entrants must use Stirling OSB as the primary material to respond to said theme.

In 2021 the theme was ‘off grid living’ in the year 2030.

Our proposal is separated into two primary components:

The Barn

The primary element is the outer ‘barn’ structure which is assembled on a platform elevated above the ground. This elevation allows for construction on a variety of ground conditions, resulting in minimum impact on the earth around the house.

The superstructure is formed from laminated sterling board ribs and beams. These are created from 5 straight cuts from a 1220x 2440mm sheet and bolted together on site. In order to prevent exposure to weather the ribs are clad with a choice of pre-insulated panels to the walls and roof which can be finished in metal, timber, cork or fully glazed. This provides the home with its envelope, keeping it warm and dry whilst allowing each occupant to personalise the exterior of the building, perhaps adding greenhouse space, solar PV and rainwater collection.

– The barn sets the scene.

Inside of the barn

The aim for the fit-out of the building is to allow for flexibility in the use and subdivision of internal spaces such that homeowners can adapt and design their own homes using a simple kit of parts. This adaptability enables the design and configuration of spaces to be within the control of the occupants.

In order to achieve this, inner spaces are envisaged using a series of framed modules which are clad in a variety of pre-cut sterling board panels. Simple aluminium frames create the structure for these sterling board ‘boxes’ based on a standard 1220 x 2440mm sheet size. The cladding of these boxes allows them to function as living space, workspaces, garden rooms, shower rooms, sleeping spaces and many more. Some of the panels might be the depth of a single osb sheet whilst others might be the depth of a shower room or kitchen space.

The module allows for flexibility of internal layout/use and potential expansion/retraction within the envelope through time as the needs of the occupants change. Whilst part of the volume of the barn may be occupied by these units, other areas may be left empty, creating double height volumes and potential covered outdoor space or areas for growing. These voids provide connections between the units adding variety and quality to the surrounding living, sleeping and working spaces. When further workspace or living space is required these additions can be made by adding more modules.

The biggest advantage of this adaptability is efficiency. A family can kit-out their home to their exact needs, minimising waste. If they expand, they can add PV units and more water collection along with extra rooms. More food then just add another ‘vegetable module’. All of the fixings are screws or bolts, so the entire house can be dissembled & reused. the standardisation of parts mean all elements can be reused rather than go to landfill. The simplicity of fixings mean there is no need to bring in tradespeople.

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