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Crisis clients build ‘prototype home’ in Newcastle

Clients of Crisis have used a pioneering method of house building to build a prototype home. 

The group are currently building the ‘PROTOHOME’ on a site in the Ouseburn, Newcastle upon Tyne. 

PROTOHOME was designed by local architecture firm xsite and is based on the Segal Method, a way of building specifically designed for untrained self-builders. Crisis clients have spent the last three months measuring, sawing, joining and sanding the building’s parts in a workshop before starting to put the structure together last week under the supervision of artist and researcher Julia Heslop and joiner Dean Crawford of Tilt Artistic Services.

Nyree Denney, a Crisis client working on the project, said: “This project is actually spilling over into the way I tackle, prepare or do anything: job applications, volunteering, business planning, my social activities, my living situation and my interactions with folk in each and any given setting.

“Being involved in a collective, community-based project like this allows real growth and change, and at a rapid pace to boot. Construction - solid, long-lasting, sustainable construction – involves tapping into both the individual and collective, collaborative skillsets and creativity.”

Andrew Burnip, Director of Crisis Skylight Newcastle, said: “Our clients have flourished under the freedom the Protohome project has given them. The agency and responsibility involved in building an entire structure from scratch has not only taught them valuable new skills, but has fostered a new sense of creativity and confidence. The transformation in many of them has been remarkable.”

PROTOHOME will remain open to the public until 31st July. It will house a series of talks, exhibitions, public forums, film screenings and artist residencies, all examining the collaborative design and build process and addressing wider issues concerning housing and homelessness. 


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