By their nature, homes are not only where we experience life, but an environment that can enable it. Our proposal seeks to challenge the fundamental principles that shape life within the home and its surroundings. With 2030 around the corner, our wider approach proposes a concept for the home and environment that is adaptable and deliverable through the scale of densities. Our concept enables community cohesion, inclusiveness, wellbeing and social connectivity. It strives to balance a design-led, demographic approach with increased energy performance and reduced environmental impact. It utilises proven and emerging technologies to create an efficient and sustainable environment for the home of the future.
As we press towards a future of sustainable, inclusive and connected communities, it is clear that increasing densities on developments is a priority. However, doing so without repeating the mistakes of the past is a challenge. Local Authorities carry out a Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA), using local demographic, housing stock deficiency and future growth data to identify future housing needs. This data affords designers the opportunity to approach higher density design innovatively and with greater focus.
Local policies currently set out density as a measurement of dwellings per hectare (DPH) or habitable rooms per hectare in major cities. We propose density to be redefined as persons per hectare.
By expanding density to address the individual demographics of the end-users, the result is efficient flexible developments that offer a mix of dwelling types appropriate to residents’ needs. Local Authorities becoming more specific in the demographic mix they are aiming to achieve, allows designers to develop proposals that ensure housing types and sizes are adequate.
Through this approach, significantly higher densities are achievable, as spaces are allocated efficiently to cater to demographics with different requirements, encouraging intergenerational communities. Arranging higher density dwellings for single occupants, couples or unrelated adults and lower densities for families or multi-generational households achieve greater overall density across the site without losing communal space. Furthermore, it is often forgotten that, while different demographics may require a two-bedroom dwelling, the requirements for that dwelling could vary greatly.
Identifying the specific demographics that will occupy the site from an early stage allows the designer to create spaces, layouts and relationships that respond sensitively to the occupying community. Developments with higher densities can, therefore, be achieved with less compromise whilst integrating the design philosophies and technologies required to make the neighbourhood truly sustainable.
The interstitial hub is one of the core concepts inherent in our proposal, applicable to an individual dwelling through to an urban masterplan. Analysing the figure-ground of typical dwellings, in both rural and urban arrangements, the interstitial refers to the circulatory spaces between rooms around the home, or city block. This proposal, as seen in the concept diagrams, is about breaking the norm of existing solid void relationships to maximise adaptability and usability of spaces. It applies across the various scales and innovatively responds to the brief by fundamentally re-thinking housing design.
A clustered relationship of rooms within a single dwelling dissolves the corridors by making them habitable. This offers pockets of space for children to play, the young to study, adults to work, elders to enjoy and for all to engage. Not only does this concept unlock these spatial opportunities at the dwelling scale, but it also alters the mindset for the larger scale too. From rural to urban, figurative clustered spaces seek to enhance and embrace the connections between dwellings, neighbours, the community and nature.
A purposeful hub is the heart within the interstitial network. Integrated into each home or neighbourhood design, it is a flexible space(s) that offers a place to meet, interact and socialise. A place to participate in local activities whilst contributing to and celebrating the sustainability of the community.