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Building Centre takeover of House Block in Hackney with Studio Bark / U-Build

27 Apr 2021

House Block, by AUAR Labs, explores what our environment could look like if our homes were not static structures and instead could evolve over time. The Building Centre was invited to takeover the platform and respond to the site in Hackney, London, with our design.

We invited Nick Newman at Studio Bark / U-Build to use AUAR Lab's design, incorporating designs created by participants in Waltham Forest Council's Future Creatives Programme. This short film is a documentation of the process.


House Block Building Centre takeover film featuring: Studio Bark/ U-Build, Waltham Forest Future Creatives Programme & AUAR Labs © Chris Jackson

Watch on YouTube. Film by Chris Jackson


What is House Block in Clapton?

House Block is designed and built using a discrete housing system — a kit of parts (analogous to lego), known as Block Type A. Each block is milled from a single sheet of plywood using CNC machines and assembled by hand, then post-tensioned. These are considered to be ‘discrete’ because the blocks are not fixed, instead offering the opportunity to be assembled, dismantled, reconfigured and reassembled over and over again.

Located on the site of a former playground in Clapton this two-storey prototype demonstrates what could be achieved if we were to think about participatory approaches to housing where local communities make use of digital modes of production. The Building Centre's takeover is one of four, who together provide live demonstrations of this potential, as the blocks morph over time into configurations that support different needs, provocations and conversations.

An associated public programme of talks, tours, performances and installations will be taking place until 16 May, bringing new perspectives to issues around local housing needs, applications of technology and governance — that move between near-future solutions and more speculative visions.


House Block is delivered in partnership with Hackney Council as a part of an exploration of digital approaches to community-led developments. The project is supported by UCL Trellis: Community Partnership Building Events, EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account Follow-On Funding, UCL East Community Engagement Seed Fund, UCL Innovation & Enterprise HEIF Funding,  The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, and in-kind support from New City College (NCC).

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