Holcim and Norman Foster Foundation showcase new prototype of Essential Homes for real-world use

● Essential Homes Applications nears rollout with new prototype unveiled at Royal Academy Summer Exhibition
● Scalable application planned to launch in Latin America in 2025, offering affordable sustainable living

Holcim and the Norman Foster Foundation present a scalable Essential Homes Applications prototype for real-world use at this year’s Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, furthering their vision to make sustainable building possible for all. With Holcim’s sustainable building solutions inside, the Essential Homes project is designed by the Norman Foster Foundation to provide safety, comfort and wellbeing for low-income or displaced communities. The new prototype has been developed for rollout in Latin America in 2025, following an in-depth study of local housing conditions and the environment.

Essential Homes new prototype model, featured in Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2024 © Norman Foster Foundation

Nollaig Forrest, Chief Sustainability Officer, Holcim: “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: “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.”

© Norman Foster Foundation

The Essential Homes in Latin America will be built with low-carbon, local materials, including ECOPact low-carbon concrete and ECOPlanet low carbon cement. A custom high-performance concrete will be used in the prefabricated roofs. In line with Holcim’s commitment to circular construction, Essential Homes Applications are fully recyclable.

At the exhibition, Holcim and the Norman Foster Foundation will showcase sketches of the Essential Homes concept by Norman Foster, as well as physical models of the initial model and the updated prototype. The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition is the world’s oldest open submission exhibition, held every year since 1769. It will take place in London from 18 June to 18 August 2024.