Can we make homes more affordable and efficient to build, less damaging to the environment and more flexible to our changing needs?

Can we reimagine our relationship with the land and work with local materials sustainably?

How can building projects support the renewal and enrichment of local economic, cultural and civic life without reducing biodiversity and contributing to the climate crisis?

Is there a more ecological, creative and compelling vision for affordable housing developments in Bridport?

R A I S E  T H E  R O O F  began in response to the local need for affordable housing in Bridport, West Dorset. Confounded by the climate crisis and economic uncertainty, we started looking for more imaginative ways of building community resilience, beginning with the people and materials of the place.

In the next decade the population of Bridport, home to 10,000 residents, is expected to grow by as much as 20%. This expansion is Bridport’s most significant in 100 years, and although development of this extent has the potential to create good new jobs in growing industries, invigorate and build resilience in the local economy and enrich local community and civic life, there is also the risk that this 21st century period of development will leave the town and the wider area not enriched but depleted. With traditional industries and local people left to wither while a newer, more affluent population takes up residence in expensively built new residential neighbourhoods and the traditional spaces and businesses that employed people locally are replaced or moved out.

Through a series of collaborations with designer-makers, architects, artists, economists, students, naturalists, builders, councillors and others, our aim is to demonstrate the ecological and social potential of creating new spaces and places from locally-sourced skills, ideas and materials. With research that combines history, ecology and the local distinctiveness of the built environment with innovative use of materials, technology and approaches to community-planning, we would like a more open, inclusive conversation that ensures that the building of homes and work spaces really does benefit the local community, create jobs, support local industry, enrich biodiversity and strengthen the social fabric of Bridport and West Dorset.

This website is a record of these inquiries and an invitation to join the conservation.

RAISE THE ROOF is a partnership between Common Ground, Turner-prize winning design collective Assemble, community-development organisation Wessex Community Assets, the Dorset Arts Development Company, Bridport Area Community Housing, Plymouth University and Bridport Town Council. Funding has been secured from the Nationwide Foundation, Friends Provident Foundation, the Arts Council and the Connected Everything programme. We openly invite others to join the conversation.