London’s housing crisis stems from amongst other reasons, a shortage of a steady supply of residential dwellings to an ever-widening spectrum of demand. This shortage threatens London’s future as a global, urban and digitized supercity. Access to affordable homes is very important for the development of London’s urban fabric. The government has various initiatives underway to build affordable homes in the city to address this issue. The London housing strategy 2018 published by the Mayor’s office sets out the vision and framework to resolve the crisis by focusing on building high quality, inclusive and affordable houses and proposes £4.8bn in affordable housing investment through to 2022. The Government’s commitment has seen the introduction of regulations like Town and Country Planning (Brownfield Land Register) Regulations 2017 that introduce a statutory brownfield register and ensure that 90% of suitable brownfield sites have planning permission for housing by 2020. With a growing emphasis on the need to restock the housing market, there is a real opportunity to take a holistic approach to the implementation. Affordable housing using quality construction techniques is a good starting point however the real challenge is in designing buildings that serve both environmental and emotional needs. In order to achieve this, the proposed design, in addition to ecofriendly and sustainable design, applies urban farming techniques to produce organic food and connect to nature whilst bringing the communities closer
BUILDING A PERFORMATIVE COMMUNITY
The site is located, in the heart of London city with easy access to public transport. The nearest under ground station is Southwark. The site is currently in a demolished state and a mixed-use development is proposed.
AREAS'S HISTORICAL IMPORTANCE
West of the Tate Modern art gallery, by the railway lines running onto Blackfriars Bridge and filled a block between the Thames and Southwark Street. The present borough was formed in 1965 by the amalgamation of three former metropolitan boroughs, Bermondsey, Camberwell, and Southwark. Nearly all of Southwark belongs to the historic county of Surrey,
SITE PREVIOUS USAGE
The site was previously home to a brutalist style building constructed in 1976 – 1979, used as a processing centre for Lloyds bank and was later let to IBM UK Ltd as their office space.
BUILDING PACE / INNOVATIVE STRUCTURES:
The core concept of an affordable and flexible building demands a Modular solution. Each module is made up of frame, wall panels, roof and floor. The frame is built on site using prefabricated steel structure and all the other panels are assembled on site in three phases, with the participation of the clients. After completing the basic structure and services, the residents are encouraged to complete the interior layout to further reduce the cost and ensure a personalized home environment. The apartment units are categorized into various typologies to meet the user requirements. These modules can be proliferated vertically or horizontally allowing the prototype to be extremely adaptable on most sites.
PHASE 1 - STEEL FRAME ERECTION The building skeleton made of steel beams and slabs will be erected first. This stage requires skilled labour.
PHASE 2 - community participation The residents are a part of the building construction process. They first choose their unit from one among the 5 typologies available.
PHASE 3 - COMPLETION The completed buildings will have apartment units of various typologies built as per the needs of the residents.
Proposed building material Cross-laminated timber (CLT), also known as the Concrete of the Future, is a trending eco-friendly building material. As it is mostly prefabricated in factories, the wastage is minimal and allows the building to be built faster with lower labour costs. It helps lower global warming reducing carbon emissions by 22% over its lifespan than a traditional concrete build. With its’ remarkable thermal performance and earthquake resistance properties, CLT has excellent fire safety ratings, and has overall lower health and safety risks making it an extremely strong contender as a sustainable building material of choice.
PANEL TO PANEL CONNECTION
WALL TO WALL CONNECTION
FABRICATION The steel structure as well as the individual CLT sheets are fabricated in the factory. This makes the construction process faster while also improving quality and reducing the possibility of errors.
TRANSPORTATION The fabricated building parts are transported from the factory to the construction site.
STEEL STRUCTURE ERECTION The building foundation is built in concrete and the steel structure is erected over it. Due to the light weight nature of CLT, the foundation is very cost effective.
TENANT SELECTION & TRAINING The future occupants are trained in the fabrication of the CLT panels. They will also be given lessons in hydroponic farm constrcution and maintenance.
ASSEMBLY OF HOUSING UNITS The pre fabricated CLT panels are assembled on site with the assistance of the tenants themselves
PROJECT HANDOVER The building is handed over to the tenants and all supporting spaces such as the community area, commercial zone etc. are activated
WALL TO FLOOR CONNECTIONS
SPIRIT OF THE BUILDING: SELF SUFFICIENCY
Self-sustenance factors like in house food production, building maintenance and revenue generation streams have been taken into consideration as part of this concept. The apartment complex is purpose built with principles of self-sustenance and community building at its core. Hydroponic farms provide sources of intensive food production, this coupled with the retail spaces provide avenues for self-sufficiency, revenue and local job creation. As a result of the participation in custom building of the spaces as part of the naked houses concept, the residents garner additional skills and ability to maintain the building.
POST PANDEMIC ADAPTATIONS
The design process has taken into consideration the need for open air spaces and access to green areas in the event of another pandemic or a similar situation. Private open spaces integrated within the structure, along with multi-functional spaces, work from home features and food production capabilities facilitate communal and private isolation should the need ever occur.
COMMUNITY INTERACTION AND PARTICIPATION
At the heart of the design is the desire to encourage community cohesion to develop a healthy support network amidst the stress of urban lifestyle. Various features are integrated to the building structure to encourage regular interaction amongst the resident community. The community zone in the building provides a platform for knowledge share, exchange library and life skills workshops. Urban farming and community participation initiatives provide avenues of common interest and opportunity to build a bond through regular interactions.
REVENUE AND JOB CREATION
Retail space on the ground floor caters to a wide range of amenities like supermarket, launderette, pharmacy, clothing store, recreational facilities, food processing unit and farmer’s market to sell the fresh produce from the hydroponic gardens of the building. In addition to convenience and self-sufficiency, it creates revenue and job creation opportunities for interested residents
IMPACT OF THE BUILDING : SUSTAINABILITY
URBAN FARMING – HYDROPONIC TECHNOLOGY
To harness the benefits of ecofriendly inhouse food production and provide green spaces for emotional wellbeing of the residents, the building is equipped with approximately 2600m of NFT channels for hydroponic farming. Intensive farming is encouraged at private and community levels. The system has a total average yielding capacity of approximately 3000 - 4500kgs of mixed fruits and vegetables per week, which on a rough estimate can feed between 200 to 250 families.
NOISE FILTRATION AND AIR PURIFICATION
In addition to organic food production, urban farming also provides noise filtration in the building. This green layer also helps in air purification and provides a better air quality in the building. In an urban context this connection to nature can have a huge impact on the health and mental wellbeing of its residents
The building is made up of 100% recyclable materials. The structure is made up of Steel and the walls are made up of CLT Panels - both of which can be recycled and reused.
The grey water from the building is collected in a storage tank which is then filtered and pumped up to the roof top. This water is reused and routed to the hydroponic units located throughout the building.
The building is equipped with solar panels on the rooftop which contributes significantly towards the energy requirements of the building. A major portion of the energy needs of the occupants is met from this
The carbon footprint of the building is reduced by using ecofriendly and recyclable building materials during the building phase. In the maintenance phase, the building continues to lower its carbon footprint through energy efficiency and wastage minimization practices. Additionally, extensive Urban farming proposed throughout the building will contribute towards neutralizing the carbon footprint.
Private Zone – Each apartment is designed with flexible and adaptable multi-functional spaces that promote sharing and inclusiveness, whilst making the best use of the compact spaces. Equipped with two balconies, each unit fosters overall well-being and has abundant supply of fresh air and natural light.
Commercial zone – Exclusive Commercial zone located on the ground floor provides a platform to sell fresh produce from the hydroponic farms in the building giving the resident’s entrepreneurship and partnership opportunities. This zone also accommodates essential stores like supermarket, pharmacy, laundry etc. there by making the building more self-sustainable.
Community Zone – Zones carved out specifically for community interactions aims to bring the community closer with activities and shared spaces. This common aspect would create a bond between the inhabitants due to regular interactions.