The dwellings that we plan to apply for are inspired by the modular “Transitional Home” cabin designed by an local open source design project as well as the Architrailer mobile caravan design. Highly efficient in terms of embodied energy, ongoing energy and resource use and constructed with home grown timber from the land and locality, this design will also ensure a high degree of visual and environmental integration in the surrounding landscape. We are fortunate to be working with architectural technologist Nina Vaughan and Architect Mark Waghorn who already have much experience in design within the One Planet Development Framework.

Nina, an Architectural Technologist with over 12 years experience, shares our desire to create sustainable, practical yet beautiful spaces to improve people’s lives as well as our specific interest in designing mobile wood cabins to provide low impact housing for landworkers. These mobile cabins are designed to be built to the legal specifications for a caravan, allowing for two sizes at 7m x 2.3m and a larger size at 12m x 2.55m towable on a 4 wheel trailer base with a towing vehicle 3500kg GVW. They will be situated on stilts 1m from the ground to be lowered onto a trailer and moved at a later stage.

There are several advantages in using the above designs. Firstly, it would be relatively simple to build from local materials and the timber available on the land, thereby keeping both financial and environmental costs low. Secondly, we believe that there is a significant market for these transportable “Eco-cabins” elicited through the rise of the “Tiny House” movement. By gaining the experience in constructing these cabins the we could create a financial income from the sale of these custom built eco-caravans. Furthermore, it is a requirement of temporary planning permission for low impact developments to be fully reversible if, for whatever reason, the project fails. Therefore, by utilising our transportable/modular cabin design we can ensure that we meet this requirement while at the same time retaining the value of the capital investment in the temporary dwelling as it can be transported to another location or sold.

If the size restrictions of the mobile cabin design would be a limiting factor for a resident member then we will have the option of adapting Mark Waghorn’s “Transitional Home” design for a low impact modular cabin. Mark is a Llandeilo based architect and co-founder of the One Planet Council and has recently completed his PHD at Cardiff University in low impact design with home grown timber. The development of the Transitional Home is an on-going collaboration, between fellow One Planet Council members Stefan and Natasha Cartwright as an open source project being funded partly through an UnLtd Award grant.

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The Transitional Home is a design blueprint for a simple, relatively low cost, family dwelling which can be erected quickly, satisfy building regulations and meet the domestic needs for off-grid living. It is optimised to support and enable individuals and families, in particular those without building experience, to make an easier transition to a more sustainable way of life via the Welsh Government’s One Planet Development planning policy.

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Framed and clad using local welsh timber the house is designed to sit lightly in the landscape with the main objective to create an open-source example of a low-impact dwelling that can be made accessible for all.

You can find more information at www.markwaghorn.co.uk and the SketchUp model of the project is available to any who want it, contact detail to be found on the website.