Densely and intensely
As an isolated urban indicator, density (sleeping inhabitants or dwellings per area) provides a biased reading of the city. Housing is directly tied to other urban infrastructure provisions: sewage, transportation, services, educational and sports facilities, recreational areas, etc. If more people live in a certain area, they will need more of it. In less equipped zones, new housing developments can burst basic infrastructural demands. In better equipped ones, lack of housing is an urban missed opportunity.
Mixing commercial, and other uses such as hotels or offices with housing has proven a successful real estate strategy in high end residential developments often for investment only. The capacity to mix housing developments with larger infrastructural programs such as schools, transportation hubs, markets, etc. could be further inquired so as to respond to larger-scale demands, such as the transportation and pollution crisis. New parameters should include the intensity of use. This would allow housing to be dealt with as urban infrastructure, leading into new housing types.
These three projects explore the ways in which to multiply living units both vertically and horizontally. Their playful aggregation creates different patterns and associations. The designs play with multiple street levels, integrating other programs alongside the living units.
1- Stack / “Staggered Streets – London
The density is increased by stacking the original terrace and mirroring a new building on the plot. As a result the backyard of the original row is transformed into a street.
The shifted stacking creates a variety of balconies and adds depth to the gallery spaces. As a result, the varied street organisation is repeated on every level.
Original Project: Mansfield Road Terrace, Benson & Forsyth, London
2- Pile / “One tree, one Home” – London
Within an urban block, clusters of units are multiplied to create an accumulative matrix of outdoor terraces. As a result, each unit gains access to a piece of urban greenery.
The increased amount of staircases, bridges, platforms, terraces and patios diversify the open-space infrastructure.
Original Project: Odham’s Walk Estate, GLC and Donald Ball, London
3- Cluster / “Broken Corridors” – London
To increase the density on the plot, the units of the original slab are clustered, transforming the corridor of the scissor-section to a partially open pathway.
The clustering of units allows the North-South aspect units to gain East-West exposure and outdoor balconies. The transformed corridors connect to open pathways, as part of a complex circulation network within the block.
Original Project: Corringham House by Douglas Stephen & Partners, with Kenneth Frampton, London