‘Through sharing, we have more’
Our sociable housing schemes combine a mix of private dwellings with shared spaces which foster interaction and which might include gardens, generous entrance spaces, communal kitchens, laundries or reception rooms.
Modern facilities that contribute to making high-performance buildings, such as electric vehicle charging points, district heating, solar power, rainwater harvesting, and stormwater attenuation, become more cost effective and deliverable in a shared set up and where community management structures can make them more affordable. Increasingly popular as an alternative to more conventional typologies, sociable housing offers significant benefits across all tenures and budgets.
Throughout the ages, design has responded to our primal need for community, with forms and typologies evolving to offer new solutions to how we organise our societies and neighbourhoods. From early medieval villages which rotated land communally, to modern housing estates, from community halls to seventeenth century coffee houses, our built environment has reflected changing social structures and preferences.
In more recent times, urban densification has led to increasingly private housing and a distinct lack of choice for families or others seeking more integrated and socially supportive ways of living.
Despite being a vibrant, multicultural city, housing typologies available in London are still largely limited to blocks of flats or rows of houses with little opportunity for interaction of development of community. Planning policy focuses on individual unit dwelling sizes, but doesn’t give much consideration to options that enable different groups of people to live alongside each other.
Our Sociable Housing schemes
Forest Mews was our first sociable housing project. Three houses are arranged around a shared courtyard garden which offers a flexible space which can function as a play space, outdoor dining room, home classroom, workshop and haven for wildlife. Without the constraint of being fenced into individual territories allocated to each individual home, the communal garden offers a space three times the size of an average garden in the area for the benefit of all residents, with greater interaction for neighbours and safe, spontaneous outdoor play opportunities for the children.
Since then, we have gone on to deliver a wide range of sociable housing schemes all of which demonstrate the benefits of a more integrated and community focussed approach to design.
Our schemes at Kaolin Court and Penrose Mews offer a mix of houses, flats and work space with access to shared outdoor spaces as well as private areas. At Royal Hill, a residential centre for adults with learning difficulties, we have created a covered veranda which connects to a shared garden to provides a significant space for wider local community involvement.
“We feel as though we are part of something, having the benefits of a little community, without having to compromise on privacy."
At Stables Yard, a row of six semi-detached houses each enjoy a private deck beyond which gardens are connected to flow together and create a huge and shared continuous garden asset. At Hampton Quay, flats are arranged around semi-open courtyards, each containing a covered kitchen and dining area (in addition to the private facilities within each flat), which overlook the public realm and the river. At Alscot Road we are working with residents to create a shared yet private street, connecting new and existing housing and encouraging interaction and community building from the outset.