International Architecture Competition

London Affordable
Housing
Challenge

Results

Foreword

According to the Mayor of London’s website, the current median monthly rental price in Central London exceeds £650 for a room in a shared apartment, £950 for a studio, and £1300 for a one-bedroom apartment.

That is to say, London is unaffordable.

Low- and median- income individuals and families cannot meet the financial demands of the city’s skyrocketing housing prices. This makes living close to one’s place of work in London a privilege: the UK’s Office of National Statistics estimates the average commute time at one hour. Families in the low- and middle-income bracket, young professionals, creatives, and key workers in industries critical for London to function - like teachers or police - tend to live far outside London’s city center.

Something needs to be done. So we’ve asked architects and designers to propose solutions for affordable housing in London.

Affordability is by no means a design issue alone. The topic requires the long-term attention and coordinated efforts of policy makers, residents, and planners. Architects, however, play a critical role in designing the future of our cities.

A range of ideas were submitted, some realistic and others conceptual. Common themes that were investigated include: methods of increasing density within the existing building stock; using shared or state-owned spaces like rivers, highways, bridges, train tracks, and even Buckingham Palace, to construct new housing above, below, or within; reworking low-density building types like warehouses and industrial spaces; and reintroducing alternative methods for land ownership, like community land trusts.

This competition 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. Some of these submissions and others will be included in the inaugural forthcoming print publication by ARCHHIVE: Issue 1: What is Affordable Housing?

Bee Breeders would like to thank all designers who participated for contributing to this growing library of design ideas!

1ST PRIZE WINNER

Project Name

Beyond The Shell United Kingdom

Project authors

Lianjie Wu

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.

NEWSLETTER

ARCHITECTURE COMPETITIONS
AND AWARDS

2ND PRIZE WINNER

Project Name

Re.Co.De: Redesigning Contemporary Dwelling Italy

Project authors

Massimo Bricocoli
Gennaro Postiglione
Stefani Sabatinelli
Nicola Sirugo

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?

3RD PRIZE WINNER

Project Name

Informal Intimacy Denmark

Project authors

Medina Dzonlic
Daniel Andersson

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?

BB STUDENT AWARD

Project Name

Wesley New Town // Chronotopia United Kingdom

Project authors

Yip Siu
BB GREEN AWARD

Project Name

Hedge House Sweden

Company

White arkitekter

Project authors

David Saand
Simone De Bergh
Björn Vestlund
Jay Williams

Honorable mentions

Project Name

Weaving a Homescape Tapestry United Kingdom

University

University college london

Project authors

Robert Newcombe

Project Name

Postcode M25 United Kingdom

Project authors

Amrita Raja
Katharine Storr

Project Name

Mind the Gap: Somersault Terrace United States

Project authors

Melissa Shin
Amanda Shin

Project Name

Football's (be)coming Home Hong Kong

Project authors

Jeffrey Lam
Douglas Leung

Project Name

A Bridge of (Terrace) Houses United Kingdom

Project authors

William Maddinson

Project Name

Affordable Palace Germany

Company

Opposite office

Project authors

Benedikt Hartl
Thomas Haseneder
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