Multiplying the Residential Model

20/12/2017

Our approach to the layout and design of homes has emerged through years of testing, exploring, engaging, measuring, listening and learning.

We are committed to creating people-centered dwellings that are inclusive where full consideration has been given to the dynamics of age, lifestyle, function, circulation, level, light, insulation and well-being.

The formulae that we apply to the design of the domestic environment is the common thread we apply to different types of dwellings whether they are individual houses or apartments, multiple residential buildings, or homes converted out of buildings which had former uses.

So in this blog we discuss the key drivers behind the ways we have applied these formulae to a variety of seemingly ‘singular’ dwelling types and will demonstrate the commonality of our approach.  The standard for living that we apply is based on guidelines that have evolved elementally through the processes we describe above and below.  We begin with the question:

What Do We Want From A Home?

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The Essential Ingredients

Privacy   noun

a state in which one is not observed or disturbed by other people’

Sanctuary   noun

refuge or safety from pursuit, persecution, or other danger’

Harmony   noun

‘the quality of forming a pleasing and consistent whole’

Individuality   noun

 ‘the quality or character of a particular person or thing that distinguishes them from others of the same kind, especially when strongly marked’.

Comfort   noun

‘a state of physical ease and freedom from pain or constraint’

Safety   noun

‘the condition of being protected from or unlikely to cause danger, risk, or injury’

Sociability   noun

‘the quality of liking to meet and spend time with other people’

Ritual   noun

‘a series of actions or type of behaviour regularly and invariably followed by someone’

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In this section we describe how we evaluate space calculations and how we consider functionality, circulation, lifestyle and context.

Space

The Mayor of London has provided space standards for dwellings as indicated in the infographic below. As architects we interpret this as the baseline for space calculations for individual dwellings.

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Functionality

Homes must function efficiently on a daily basis and not just as a theoretical model.

Circulation

A feature that is common to many of our current projects is a double circulation system.  We like to create a plan that gives more than one way to move around a series of spaces – the private and the public routes.

Entrance

The first impression and a pause space, a welcoming space and from which the arrangement and character of the dwelling can be seen and understood.

Privacy

Spaces are created that allow the inhabitants to be on their own, to be together or to be with guests.  Hierarchical spaces can be introduced into internal layouts to encourage different levels of privacy.

Comfort

Homes should be designed to provide comfortable relaxing environments that facilitiate individual and collective activities.

Storage

Daily, weekly and long term storage are essential for a clutter free home. Opportunities to create functional and accessible storage spaces can be found in hidden spaces or internal voids.

Adaptability

Homes should allow ‘room to grow’ and be adaptable to the changing needs of its inhabitants as they progress through their lives.

Live/Work

It is important to integrate into the overall design areas where people can work at home. The ability to work from home has become a critical component of the 21st century lifestyle.

Designing a Home: The Individual Model Multiplied

Here we give an example of an Individual Model illustrating Options 2 and 4 below:

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Designing a home that fulfills the expectations of the end user(s) begins with assessing the accommodation needs of the individual(s) who will live within the residential units.

There are many options and possibilities to be considered and each of these can be integrated into the design of multiple occupancy buildings.

Below we list some of these options:

Option 1: One floor accommodation type: Apartment

a) Apartment living for one person (example)

b) Apartment living for two people (example)

c) Apartment living for a family of two parents and up to three children (example)

d) Loft Style Apartment converted from the interior of a building with former use

Option 2: Two/three floor accommodation: Townhouse/Split level apartment/Conversion of a building with former use

a) Townhouse on two floors (Conversion example)

b) Townhouse on two floors (New-build example)

c) Townhouse on three floors (Conversion and New-build example)

Option 3: Multiple Occupancy Buildings

a) Apartment living for one person (example)

b) Apartment living for two people (example)

c) Apartment living for a family of two parents and up to three children (example

Option 4: New Build Family Home – one or two levels

a) To accommodate private and public living on two floors

b) To combine both in one plan over two floors

c) To integrate the circulation between both to enable either a. or b. to work effectively

In our early residential projects we were commonly presented with buildings that had become redundant in terms of their original uses and purposes.  This was an invaluable learning curve during which we acquired knowledge of the character of old building fabrics, textures and structures, and how to combine contemporary materials with the old to evolve a common architectural language.

We believe it is important to take full advantages of all the unique influences that a site or constraint might have on a property and how to develop a design that minimizes the constraints and maximizes the potential outcome.

Architecture cannot modify a context to respond to a building but it can propose a building that both responds to its context and enhance it.

When we are designing homes we are applying the same principles that we apply to all of our projects.

Home is the framework of our lives and our ambition as architects is to offer our clients a genuine response to their immediate and authentic everyday needs.