The Norman Foster Foundation reveals new emergency housing design

The Norman Foster Foundation have partnered with Holcim to create new emergency housing which will be showcased at this year’s Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in London.

The research project, which is otherwise known as Essentia Homes, was initiated to provide safety, comfort and wellbeing for low-income or displaced communities. The first prototype was shown last year at the Venice Biennale. The prototype has been developed for rollout in Latin America in 2025, following an in-depth study of local housing conditions and the environment.

Prior to the rollout, sketches of the homes, which are set to be built with low-carbon, local materials including ECOPact low-carbon concrete and ECOPlanet low carbon cement, will be showed at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition – the world’s oldest open submission exhibition, held every year since 1769. This year, the event will take place in London from 18th June until 18th August 2024.

Nollaig Forrest, chief sustainability officer, Holcim, a global leader in innovative and sustainable building solutions: ‘We are excited to be continuing our collaboration with the Norman Foster Foundation on this important project to make sustainable building possible for all. The Essential Homes prototype we are jointly unveiling at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition is designed to be rolled out at scale in Latin America during 2025.’

Norman Foster, president, Norman Foster Foundation, added: ‘This project grew out of a workshop organised by the Norman Foster Foundation for young graduates devoted to the issues of refugee housing. Realising that a family can spend up to nearly two decades living in a tent, the scholars posed a challenge – could a more durable, permanent and dignified home be built in a few days, that would be economically viable and sustainable? The Foundations project team, with the support of Holcim, met this challenge with a prototype home unveiled at the 2023 Venice Biennale. This has now evolved into a row house version, offering higher standards for ultra low-cost housing – shown for the first time at this Royal Academy Summer Show.’

Images: The Norman Foster Foundation

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Emily Whitehouse
Writer and journalist for Newstart Magazine, Social Care Today and Air Quality News.


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