When a vision comes to reality

It’s exciting when you see a vision come into reality

At LaunchPad our vision is to create a diverse, supportive and sustainable community that brings together Bristol University students, young people moving on from 1625 Independent People and key workers from the community. The Launch Pad team know that the foundation of this vision is a safe and secure home.

Launch Pad was developed to address the housing struggle faced by many people today. The lack of affordable housing close to employment opportunities has led to a steep increase in homelessness for young people. Young people face isolation, separation and unaffordable rent, these issues demand innovation in housing design. The housing sector needs to build homes that create communities and provide an aspirational environment in which all people can achieve their goals and contribute to their community.

And so Launch Pad was born.

The design

We consulted with a wealth of knowledge and experience from housing organisations, architects, charities, universities, young people, students and communities. Through this process, it was decided that not only would this be an innovative community, but it would be built using a different form of construction. The units are being built ‘off site’ by Integra Buildings in a factory in East Yorkshire. They are designed to look like shipping containers and everything inside is bespoke, with appliances integrated to make the most of the space. Each flat has a sleeping area, en-suite bathroom and kitchenette. They are designed for one person, with additional communal living spaces, utility rooms and garden.

The design showcases pioneering high quality, low impact building techniques with good thermal performance and supports our aim of establishing positive relationships amongst the residents, with consideration given to shared gardens, social spaces and activity spaces.

Gary Parker, Managing Director of Integra Buildings, said:

“We’re delighted to be bringing our cutting-edge modular building techniques to such an inspirational project as Launch Pad, which will make a crucial difference to many young peoples lives.

Thanks to our innovative design and construction methods, the units will offer high-quality, bespoke accommodation, but can be built within a matter of weeks in our factory.

We’re making great progress and look forward to delivering the new homes and making them ready for the first young people to move by the Autumn.”

It’s exciting to see them take shape so quickly – in a short space of time a home is created.

Some of the team went to visit the Integra factory last month, to see this vision come to reality.

Oona Goldsworthy, United Communities CEO said,

“Watching the new homes being built in a factory setting was completely new to me, but is surely part of our future. The 31 homes will leave the factory and be up and ready to move in within an amazing 12 weeks”

But behind the scenes, this initiative has been two years in the making, and is the result of a lot of planning and investment from many groups. Just as a small taster of this partnership:

It wouldn’t be possible without Bristol City Council’s political backing and providing the site. The resource and funding invested from United Communities enable the ambition to become a reality. 1625ip has designed the self-management model of this non-profit initiative so that integration between the groups in the community is possible, and young people moving on from homelessness will sustain independence. The University is offering free access to University facilities for all the residents, providing facilities that would otherwise be inaccessible to some young people, and an offer that directly overcomes ‘studentification’. Alec French Architects bring their innovative and strategic design skills. Studio Hive bring their expertise in project management. Funding from LandAid and Nationwide have provided resources for the work. We have also been supported by Bevan Brittan who offered their legal expertise pro-bono as well as many other Bristol companies who have provided their advice for free.

The last month has been a big step for the LaunchPad team, and the start of an exciting journey for the housing sector as a whole. The invaluable evidence generated from the project will demonstrate how to bring to life new housing solutions.  It certainly has scope for future replication for scaling up locally and nationally.

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