The London Affordable Housing Challenge is part of Bee Breeders’ Affordable Housing Crisis design series, which has already introduced several great proposals to address the global demand for urban housing. A range of ideas were submitted, some realistic and others conceptual.
First prize – Beyond the Shell by Lianjie Wu from the UK
Jury Commentary: 3D printing has made great strides in recent years. A host of startups and technology companies are prompting new waves of investment, research, and publicity for this form of construction as a means to cheaper and quicker building. This design proposal takes advantage of the free-form nature granted by these technologies to offer a compelling design for mass affordable housing complexes that grow and mold with their inhabitants.
A typical grid-like structural frame is provided as the base infrastructure on which a seemingly infinite range of curvilinear designs can be fitted to; these are fabricated in mobile trucks carrying digital fabrication tools for construction. The perennial question to ‘adaptable design’ is whether it can truly live up to its promise and deliver a project that is fully functional and adequate for its users.
Second prize – Re.Co.De: Redesigning Contemporary Dwelling by Gennaro Postiglione, Nicola Sirugo, and Massimo Bricocoli from Italy
Jury Commentary: Coliving and cohabitation serve to increase density by reorganizing the layouts of existing buildings for more efficient spaces, and to include shared amenities for larger groups of inhabitants. The designer of this project states: “the real revolution in housing is indoors.” The proposal rearranges the interior layout of a typical london housing block, as the designer claims, to mirror the growing variety of job positions and of family arrangements. The ways in which people organize their urban lives to afford housing “is to be more closely investigated, as this brings along significant changes in terms of housing cultures, patterns of solidarity/community, and socio-spatial organization.”
The design offers a selection of flexible interior organizational components – including the bathroom core, the equipped wall fitted with shelving and insulation, and movable partitions. The layout accounts for a mixture of user profiles, from the single adult student, to the elderly couple, to the divorced parent with child. The jury wonders, in what other building typologies can this project be applied?
Third prize – Informal Intimacy by Medina Dzonlic and Daniel Andersson from Denmark
Jury Commentary: This project, titled Informal Intimacy, seeks to establish a new architecture for social housing using modernist principles. In its simplicity and austerity it offers flexibility, with a wide range of spatial combinations that relate to people’s wide-ranging identities. The submission states: “The project dismisses the idea of social housing being an architecture based on standardized minimums, a one size fits all, instead the architectus is established as a field of opportunities.”
It offers a mix of intimate and flexible rooms for large collectives or a small number of inhabitants, the arrangements being based on a variation of spatial sequences. The range of drawings, images, and models this submission included proves a highly-refined and thoroughly-studied idea. The jury asks, is this project intended to be suitable only for new construction, or can it also be applied to infill sites and existing infrastructure?
For more jury comments, high res images, and details about our BB Student Award to Yip Siu from University College London in the UK.
The Green Award has been assigned to Simone De Bergh, Björn Vestlund, David Saand, and Jay Williams from Swedish company White Arkitekter. Source and images Courtesy od Bee Breeders.