The main project brief outlined a detailed set of a fictional family’s roles, responsibilities, and commitments. This told us that Dave (the father) spends a lot of his time devoted to writing his PHD and is responsible for home-schooling his two children when his wife is at work. His wife, Eileen, referred to as the caretaker in this project, is a former sculptor who is now employed by the council who maintains buildings and their grounds, and sometimes must work from home. Alongside other details, we were given a fixed plot size of 24×8 metres, a maximum percentage of garden to internal-space ratio, and the climatic location of Brighton, otherwise allowing us the freedom to dictate the terrain, orientation, etc.
We were tasked with this project to help us understand the spatial requirements of a working family, and to assess how we worked through these requirements. For example, we considered the requirement for a quiet space for home-schooling and writing, as well as a workshop for Eileen’s hobbies and council work, which could potentially be the source of lots of noise and disruption. The layout of internal spaces, therefore, had to be carefully considered and arranged.
With a fixed plot and garden to internal-space ratio, the delegation of space was another aspect that had to be measured, is there enough room to facilitate a specialist home-schooling area when it would only be inhabited however many hours a day, and not on weekends? Maybe this could be resolved through flexible interior spaces? Not only was this a design project, it allowed for our problem-solving abilities to be pushed and tested.
Project Two: Site Strategy
Project Two is all about the larger scale issues of site strategies and the relationship between the project and its local surroundings. It involved the design of a high-density housing project on the site was a fairly large Waitrose carpark, located just off Western Road, Brighton.
Although named ‘Site Strategy’ the intention of this project wasn’t to work out the practicalities and intricacies of the number of units, materiality, access points or even programmes of the development, but rather to set out the idea and approach towards the making of a neighbourhood. Questions such as ‘What kind of neighbourhood do I want to create?’, ‘How might this neighbourhood feel?’, and ‘How would this desired environment be achieved?’ should be asked and explored. The project wanted us to interrogate the idea of places and spaces, alongside the idea of placemaking. We were encouraged to explore strategies relating to the urban fabric, different approaches to streets, alleys, paths, courtyards, greens, gardens, patios, playgrounds, and so on.
Although the project’s priority was site related, a rough housing plan was also required. The housing plan should be responsive of all previously undertaken site and neighbourhood exploration. Additional exploration has been undertaken in the different strategies that determine the general massing of housing elements – elements found in terraces, blocks, towers, etc. Where Project One focused on one home and one family, Project Two introduces us to the idea of a community and the spatial requirements different communities might have.