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 2021 Re-materializing Housing Workshop
Contents Report
Urban Splash
Tom Bloxham
In fulfillment of its motto to ‘live well by design’, the mission of Urban Splash, which Tom Bloxham describes as ‘a market-leading urban regeneration developer’ to which he is both founder and chairman, is to build beautiful, modern homes in green neighbourhoods that are full of character. Going through the history of Urban Splash and its work, which includes the creation of over 4,000 new homes, Bloxham took the seminar’s attendees through an overlook of the design firm’s most notable regenerative projects, including the transformation of historic structures such as Concert Square in Liverpool and Lister Mills in Bradford.
According to Bloxham, the home-building industry in the United Kingdom has stagnated, delivering poor quality design and standards. In response, Urban Splash has created a successive venture, House, described as a ‘modern housebuilder’ that uses innovative construction techniques for housing transformations, such as the one completed at Moho in Manchester (Urban Splash, 2006), in which 1,000 modular apartments originally built off-site were delivered as complete dwellings for residents and customised to fit the needs of each user.
Backed by Sekisui House, the world’s largest and most sustainable house-builder, and Homes England, the government’s housing accelerator for the United Kingdom, House follows a similar ethos to that of Urban Splash. Its mission is to create a distinctive and modern housing range and, in doing so, become the ‘designer’ brand of housing, giving customers the opportunity to have ‘architect-designed’ homes.
Going on to present some of House’s completed, ongoing and future projects, Bloxham presented the scholars and Academic body members with a comparison of traditional construction methods—noting, in particular, the industry’s worker shortage and productivity halt—and those of industrial, volumetric construction and prefabricated assembly, which, from Bloxham’s experience, can more capably provide residents with a choice in their living features, creating more open and beautiful spaces.
 Tom Bloxham in conversation with Norman Foster before his seminar at the Norman Foster Foundation’s library
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