Cartwright Pickard launched its Novo House this week, a lightweight steel-framing solution that can create inexpensive housing in developing countries. Part of the Living Steel initiative, it is particularly aimed at countries that do not have a tradition of building with steel.
It is cleverly thought out to need no skills or mechanical equipment, and to work with local cladding materials.
One interesting point made at the presentation was that what we consider lightweight steel is actually far heavier than is used say in Australia, where they use thinner stronger sections.
It also sparked an interesting discussion about the role of the architect when they start designing for mass production. Paul Finch, who chaired the discussion, said that the future for many would lie with earning royalties rather than fees – and that this could be far more lucrative.
There is a detailed article about Novo in Building magazine.