AN UPLIFTING NEW HEART FOR THE HOME FOR A YOUNG FAMILY TO GROW. SIMPLE MATERIALS, SPACE AND LIGHT CRAFTED AROUND THE DETAILS OF EVERYDAY LIFE
A new uplifiting heart for the home for a young family to grow.
Intimate Infrastructure is a concept that proposes an alternative to more dominant forms of volume house-building and provides solutions for both private renters in the form of purpose-built shared homes, as well as considering the needs of local communities vulnerable to displacement. It forms part of our Intimate Series research programme, see our publication here
High density at a Human Scale?
We ask if there is a way of working at a big scale, whilst also paying attention to quality of life, urban vitality, character of place and civic relations. What are the tools for delivering high density at a human scale? The proposals challenge the pervasive model of towers: Is there a strategy for maximising land available without incurring the formidable build costs of high-rise, to provide an economic housing solution for different groups in need?
Our clients were a young family looking for space to grow and to better fit their lifestyle. Their grand period home was already spacious and well proportioned, with a generous garden. However they spent most of their time in the small, dark outrigger kitchen and an awkward leftover space nearby.
Our task was to provide more sociable and connected spaces for family living, which could flexibly bring together the everyday activities of cooking, playing, eating, living, entertaining and cleaning. A key aspiration was a stronger relationship between the interiors and the garden; one of the property’s greatest assets.
MAKING EVERYDAY LIVING BEAUTIFUL
From the outset, a sense of openness, light and “flow” was very important, as well focusing on the functionality of the kitchen, as the new hub and heart of the home. The project required a very budget-conscious approach, however in the studio we see this as an opportunity to be even more creative; we believe that making everyday living beautiful doesn’t need to be expensive.
To realise this, we worked very closely with our clients and designed from the inside out, to create a completely customised solution in an affordable way. We tailored each aspect around the everyday routines and lifestyle of the family, in order to make an uplifting space infused with light and individualised down to the smallest details.
SERENITY & SOCIABILITY
A feeling of spaciousness was very important, so we used a range of space-saving storage solutions to create a serene atmosphere with lots of clean lines, soft colours and subtle textures to enhance the sense of calm. A core part of the concept was more sociability and connection; we realised this through key joinery pieces which frame views between spaces and connect different aspects; the old house to the new, the inside and the garden.
Our design for the kitchen included a unique island with an integrated “eat-in” table, which creates a flexible, multi-use hub for cooking, eating and socialising. A new opening through to the playroom and a full-height slot window allows the couple to cook and always have a clear view of their young children playing in both the house or garden.
We ask, can we build at high density, but with an alternative form of development to towers? We propose to capitalise on the land available within the city, to allow for urban intensification rather than sprawl.The study focuses on two groups: local communities at risk from radical urban renewal, and private renters who cannot access home ownership in the current crisis, from young professionals on low incomes to other more vulnerable or mobile city dwellers.
MIXING OLD AND NEW TYPOLOGIES
The project proposes a ‘missing typology’ of new-build shared housing to meet the demand of renters in the immediate term, while also accommodating larger family homes within a framework that focuses on qualities of place. The study explores mixing different types of people rather than creating mono-tenure ‘ghettos’.
Currently, the private rental market is unregulated in terms of space standards – epitomized by the extreme cases of makeshift “beds in sheds”. New mass-produced, modular ‘shared houses’ are proposed as standardised components, to regulate minimum levels of living standards, speed up delivery and reduce construction costs.
Permanent infrastructure is provided at ground level in the form courtyards and owner-occupied townhouses, based on the London pattern of squares and to embed the importance of street-life into areas undergoing change. An adaptable frame structure above holds the shared homes, which can change, grow and recede according to future needs.
The ‘shared house’ modules are low-cost, robust shell spaces which can be finished by inhabitants according to their means. This new model could also provide a radical approach to giving access to property and security by allowing micro units of space to be owned, such as a single bedroom.