Build A Retirement Community on A Shoestring Competition, 2017 Design Contest News

Retirement Community on A Shoestring Competition

Granny Annexe Design Contest run by National Self Build & Renovation Centre, Swindon, UK

27 Jun 2017

Build A Retirement Community on A Shoestring Competition News

Build A Retirement Community on A Shoestring Competition 2017

This year the organisers are keen to see clever and cost effective ‘Retirement Home/Granny Annexe’ solutions – a 40 sq m home that can be built for £40k (or less). Thirty of the homes also have to be configured as an innovative retirement community (with a max budget of £1.5m)

Build A Retirement Community on A Shoestring Competition

Build A Retirement Community on A Shoestring Competition

A unique ideas competition, open to all, where you have to design an innovative Retirement Community of 30 homes that can be built very cost effectively.

Your design must be capable of being customised to suit the elderly residents – so you will need to show different internal layouts to suit single or double occupancy, and provide a menu of finish or specification options.

The individual retirement homes should be very simple and cost effective to build (each home must cost no more than £40,000), and the whole community of 30 homes must be constructed for no more than £1.5m (including all the communal facilities).

Above all we are looking for cost-effective, beautiful and green designs. Selected entries will be displayed at Grand Designs Live and the winners will share a £5,000 prize fund!


In mainland Europe many innovative Retirement Communities have been delivered directly by groups of elderly people. The groups have worked together to commission and design their homes, and then hired a contractor to construct the properties.

These projects often incorporate lots of shared spaces – such as a communal laundry, workshops, libraries and car sharing schemes. Many also include shared guest bedrooms that any of the residents can use when friends of family want to stay. And most have a generous central communal space that can be used for shared meals or other community events.

Britain’s first project of this type opened in North London earlier this year. Called ‘New Ground’ the pioneering development has already won wide acclaim. Find out more about the development here –

The 2017 Shoestring competition wants to capitalise on the growing interest in these new forms of housing for older people – especially housing that is simple and cost effective to build, and where the residents have a real say in the design, layout and the range of facilities that are to be provided. Developments like this often help elderly people be more active, and encourage the mutual support of each other, thereby reducing the need for social care.


There is a total prize fund of £5,000, which will be distributed by the judges. In addition to identifying an overall winner, the judges reserve the right to also commend other entries.
The judges will decide how much to award to each.


Entrants are required to design an innovative Retirement Community of 30 homes. The individual homes must provide a reasonable living/dining area, a kitchenette, bathroom, study area and a double bedroom. Your design should provide a minimum of 40 sq m (remember that the shared facilities provided across the wider community can be used to compensate for the relatively compact size of each home).

A number of layout options for the homes should be provided, so the residents can choose the one that suits their needs. The homes should also work as a standalone ‘granny annexe’ that could be dropped into a garden or attached to an existing property.

The basic unit must be capable of being built to a fullyfinished state (ready for occupation) for no more than £40,000. We believe it may be possible to provide a solution for less.

Location: Lydiard Fields Great Western Way Swindon SN5 8UB, UK

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