By now most of you will know the winners of our Reinventing London’s Housing for 2050 mini-design competition that we ran for Green Sky Thinking 2017, organised by Open City, as it has been widely reported on social media by those who were there on the night. What you may not know, however, are the reasons why the winning entries were chosen. We thought it might be of interest to share some of the judges thinking and the elements of the prize-winning entries that really made them stand out. They had a tough task on the night as the quality of entries was incredibly high and it was a very close result.
Bathkit by Chetwoods Architects – Third Prize
This concept offered a huge potential for installation in a broad array of existing buildings, that may no longer be used for their original purpose by 2050. A simple, adaptable approach, which focussed around a core kitchen/bathroom module was used as the starting point for every home created within the chosen building. The approach was easily scalable and gave future residents options for growth and customisation. This was also one of the stronger concepts to consider the potential to be completely net-zero energy – through integration of renewable generation, smart-grid technology and thermal storage using the London aquifer.
Whistle-Stop Housing by Reed Watts – Second Prize
Having identified both potential accommodation and potential sites in abundance, the Whistle-Stop Housing concept set out a well thought out approach that considered flexibility, scalability and a host of practical considerations of day-to-day living. A robust approach to energy, water and waste through a combination of “recycle – reuse – replenish – recharge – reduce” was integrated with the adjacent railway infrastructure but driven by the demands of the occupants.
Reed-Watts’ concept focussed on the utilisation of challenging sites that are currently neglected and unlikely to be a focus of future development; but also considered the importance of community and greenery for the future residents – highlighting the value of place as well as space. Whilst their idea certainly has a place in the London of 2050, it’s also something that could just as easily form part of the London of 2020.
Life On-Line by RMA Architects – First Prize & Peoples’ Choice
The Life On-Line concept stood out from the crowd, winning both judges’ and public votes on the night.
The concept focussed on the common theme of railways and the under-utilised space above them, putting forward an original, well detailed approach that impressed the judges. It is a visually engaging concept, with its eye-catching rivers of green through Kings Cross and Euston, offering a really positive take on the potential of London Housing in 2050.
RMA’s proposal offered flexibility and adaptability for the occupants, but retained cost-effectiveness and practicality of implementation through modularity and cellurisation of the dwelling. It allowed for organic growth and metamorphosis as the needs of the occupants change over time, including the potential for complete relocation should the need arise.
A hierarchy of functionality and form separated the energy generation, circulation and amenity spaces from the residential areas as well as achieving a balance between connectivity to adjacent buildings whilst buffering the residents from noise and pollution of the railway. The residential modules created a space efficient but comfortable environment for families of any size and almost every other element of the “building” severed multiple functions in support of the overall effectiveness of their solution.
Whilst many of the concepts RMA integrated were echoed in other ideas, the cohesive package was agreed to be the best overall concept and they presented a home for 2050 that everyone would want to live in.
Do you agree with the judges’ decision? Feel free to share your thoughts below. If you want to refresh yourself on any of the competition entries you can find them here.