Local students build prototype house for developing world

Twenty-six Year 12 students from North Oxfordshire Academy spent two days helping to build the radical ‘dome house’ at Oxfordshire County Council’s Hill End Centre in Eynsham. Using only traditional tools, and with the help of a handful of volunteers, students demonstrated that it is possible to build a robust, serviceable space with limited resources and little building experience.  It is hoped that their achievement will now provide tangible evidence of how it is possible to deliver real housing solutions for people in need in remote areas.

Creative working partnership

Councillor Michael Waine, the Chairman of Oxfordshire Country Council’s Children’s Scrutiny Committee, who will officially open the dome house, said: “We are delighted to be involved in this innovative project and to have been instrumental in developing such a creative working partnership between the private and education sectors. This relationship can only benefit everyone involved and it is particularly satisfying that this local project could ultimately prove to be a lifeline to homeless people around the globe.”

The building is the latest concept home to be designed by Jay Emery of Dingley Dell Enterprises in Kidderminster.  It is his response to the deprivation he witnessed in areas of South Africa, where he grew up. International Baccalaureate students from North Oxford Academy and members of the Hill End team were assisted by volunteers from Eynsham Running Club, foresters from Wytham Woods and the Forest School team. The dome home is a low cost eco-friendly building that meets national building regulations. It is constructed using 80 per cent less concrete than conventional construction methods. 

Self-sustaining well into the future

Jenny Doyle, Operations Manager at Hill End Centre explained:  “As well as being invaluable as a showcase project, the building has already proved to be a fantastic addition to the facilities we offer here at Hill End.  School children from around Oxfordshire are not only enjoying the space but are also learning about how it was built and why it is so significant.  We are now fundraising to purchase a small wind turbine and a number of solar panels so that the centre can be completely self-sustaining well into the future.