Kieran Long Artsnight

Kieran Long

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The long cherished ideal of a property owning democracy in Britain


looks to be a thing of the past. For many of today's's under 40s, the


prospect of owning your own home has become nothing more than a pipe


dream. 9 million of us are currently living in private rented


accommodation. Successive governments in the UK have promised


to build more houses, addressed the chronic undersupply in some parts of


the country. For me, it is more of a numbers game. I am more interested


in the design of these homes. How can we better reflect the way we


live our lives? I have been writing about architecture for 20 years. I


am the architecture and design curator at the V and eight. I will


be meeting our brightest architects to explore how some of their radical


designs can help us live better. I will look at some of the best and


boldest ideas for some of our homes in the future.


We look at homes in the past and the future. In this exhibition,


practising architects were commissioned to rethink three


British staples of the British housing stock, the cottage, the


terraced has flat. The architects have been given free rein to think


about design think is space. The two projects I find most compelling deal


with a traditional kind of British housing, the terrace.


The terraced became a trademark of Georgian architecture in Britain.


Living in one became a higher form of life. Terraces always served both


ends of the social spectrum. The traditional two up, two down version


became commonplace, particularly in the north of England. Row upon row


of terraced streets were built is stone's throw from factories or mail


is where most of the residents worked. Terraced houses typify


British cities. Given all they offer, they are just as likely to be


a big part of the future part of our cities as they have been of the


past. The architecture practice was selected by Riba to think about how


we might adapt the traditional terraced house. Their submission


offers new and exciting possibilities in the housing market,


via an interactive model. Tell me a bit about your work with terraced


houses. You are rethinking the terrace for a new generation. The


actual design of the terraced has has not changed. Our proposal looks


a million. It has a traditional pitched roof, a recognisable design


of a house. The way we are considering and adapting it is the


way it can respond to consumer choice. Our intentions are that


customers will have a much greater say about the design. This model is


intended to demonstrate the possibilities. All of these are


options for the same, basic envelope of the building. This is the basic


shell and these are variations you can choose from. Within the model


there is an open plan layout where you have your living room facing


onto the garden. You might choose the two bedroom upstairs option


which has all this space. The alternative would be the


three-bedroom option. Instead of a voyage to get an extra bedroom. This


is an interesting tool. You are demystifying design and allowing a


consumer to have a voice. We have thought that architects are


enablers. We create a framework in which people live out their lives.


The basic structure of the timber frame is consistent but the


permutations people can choose our fast. I loved this way of selling


it. It could be a new career. Emerging architectural practice were


also commissioned to look into new designs for the terraced house. One


of the main interest is the changing relationship dream public and


private space in architecture. This is a project that thinks about the


potential of the traditional boundary between two terraced


houses, the party wall. Instead of it being a division, it opens up and


becomes a social space is shared between two properties. What is


beautiful about this phone is it has taken on a rock excess. All of these


balconies, small internal gives enough connection with a neighbour


without forcing you to cohabit. It is extreme but rather beautiful. A


rich, interior world. Two of the founding architects have built a


shared space for themselves, between two houses in North London. I have


come to visit them to find out more about their challenging ideas for


homes of the future. Tania, Tammy a bit about how this project came


about. Where is the session with the party wall? We were interested with


the idea of sharing. We have ideas about sharing the economy. We felt,


could these ideas be applied to the house? Was working on the project


with my other partner, Jessica. Both of us were on maternity leave. We


wanted a shared space to have shared childcare. We felt it was a generic


problem. The principle of shared space is evident in their own homes.


Through an ingeniously designed triangle courtyard, which is both a


private and communal space. We very much use that space together, not


just for work, but it could be useful childcare and dogs to play,


breakfast together. We felt there was a British cynicism about the


idea of being able to share a space with someone. It is possible and can


be very successful. Your project proposes sharing the most valuable


parts of the house. Most people would think of it as family space,


private space. What needs to happen to make that possible? Do you need


to be best friends with your neighbours? There is such a shortage


of housing, there has to be a shift in attitude. Housing needs to


develop with the housing shortages. The younger generation are generally


more open to these mixed communal living schemes. You get house


shares. More and more people in a Georgian house went for a family is


being lived in by six or seven separate occupants and advertised on


the internet. That model is really coming through. Now there are


examples of people building specifically for that purpose. Can


architecture create social relationships, or good party walls


with holes in them, balconies with holes in them, they can also do


that? When we decide, we looked at creation and use social dimensions


through architecture. Often it is the case that things come out of new


models. That is an exciting thing. The future of the British home is


currently under discussion some more exotic than North London, Venice. --


somewhere more exotic. Here, but chosen theme was reporting from the


front. The British Council selected the exhibition, home economic is,


for the UK pavilion. Behind this submission is the youngest


curatorial team ever chosen. What are some of the topics you are


trying to examine with this pavilion? The housing crisis is


about supply. Architects want to build thousands of houses but it is


not up to us. It is about how life has changed and how that can be


addressed regarding contemporary life. It is about how we live.


Home economic emergence new kinds of domestic living across five


different spaces. Chelator is collaborated with architects and


designers to develop full-scale domestic interiors. -- collators. It


felt to us it was changing time after time. It is becoming very


impossible for our generation to own a home. Even decade to decade as we


grow older and live longer. We need homes allowing us to live over a


longer period of time. We asked a group of designers to respond to


those periods of time. Each room deals with a specific time span,


reflecting generations in our homes. Months, days, even hours. If you


look at how we live, hour by hour, it is changing hugely through


technology. 80% of us check our smartphones ten minutes before we go


to sleep and ten minutes after waking up. That changes not only the


way we use our furniture, we are using our beds more than furniture.


Also the way we use our apartments and how we communicate from our own


home to the outside world, the boundary between what is public and


private. That has implications for the city. Even that minute by minute


hand-held device is starting to influence the way we live and the


way we use the city around us. The first room you come into deals with


the timespan of hours. It is a calm, minimal quiet space. No one else is


here. It is the sense of a shared space, very utilitarian. We need a


place to put stuff. I love the idea this is... There is a transparency


and calm. Maybe what we need is a place of Zen relaxation.


But this isn't just a space for quiet contemplation. It is also


meant for socialising. Behind the design of this room is one of the


curators, Jack self. This is a common living room imagined for a


future form of social housing in which 12 - 16 people share the


space. We can't each afford a space of this kind, particularly in


London, but if we pool our resources we can afford more. The idea is that


sharing can be a type of luxury, not always a compromise. I don't know


about you, but I am not sure about sharing clothes with my neighbours.


In the next room are some rather weird looking oversized inflatable


bubbles. Designed by a London art collective.


This is thought of as a home for days, a kind of portable,


collapsible, private space you can take with you.


I'm just taking a look around my new house.


This is a private space you're meant to bring with you in a suitcase,


to where ever your nomadic existence takes you.


It's for that kind of future traveller person.


Inside here is supposed to be your Wi-Fi and your connection


I would love to take one of these with me.


How many times do we go to an Air B, where we don't


I think this is a hygienic and convenient solution, I love it.


Perhaps the trickiest thing of all is, how do I get


The next space is devoted to the timescale of months. This blue box


is part of an experiment that lots of architects are thinking about,


how do you minimise your private space and maximise communal space.


This living pod, consisting of a bed and toilet in a small envelope is


attempting to be one of hundreds of units ranged together, with communal


eating and dining and working facilities, for a community of


creative people. This is seriously minimal living, but perhaps if we


want to live together, this is all we really need for private space. In


this short-term residential pod, the rent would also cover the cost of


cleaning fees, making doing the dishes a thing of the past. I like


the sound of that. The other rooms offer yet more stripped back


suggestions for future living. For me, home economics fits in perfectly


with the spirit of what the Venice Architecture Biennale has always


been about, a space for speculation and radical thought. What the


curators have done this year is investigate a totally new lifestyle


emerging from their generation. People on precarious short-term


working contracts with very short-term lets for housing, all


living in an unconventional spaces. It is that kind of lifestyle that


might come to define the future of the city, and the exhibition this


year investigate the impact that could have on the future interior.


Experimental ideas certainly have their place in the housing debate,


but back home what we really need are more bricks and mortar houses.


Nowhere is the demand for new houses in the UK


greater than in London where the housing crisis


London needs to build 60,000 homes a year to meet demand but at


It is clear, if we are going to hit that target with quality and beauty,


we will have to look towards new models of design.


Some of the capital's most interesting design


projects are found on its outer edges and involve new forms of


I've come to visit Barking, where my father hails from.


It's a place of real East End charm and one of the most adverse places


In the last ten years, Barking town centre has undergone a


complete transformation, led by some of the best


architects in Britain, and with some visionary thinking


from the council about how architecture can change a place.


In 2006, Barking and Dagenham Council announced plans to demolish


the much maligned Linton 's estate. Built in the 1960s, the looming 16


story tower block was once a hopeful vision of modern living. But by the


1980s, like many of Britain's concrete towers in the sky, the


dream had turned sour. Broken lifts and high crime rates robbed the


estate of its appeal. Not many locals mourned the demolition of the


blocks in 2008. What replaced the old estate is the William Street


Quarter which, for me, contains some of the most beautiful and elegant


housing built in London in recent years. In total, 470 new homes have


been built, and all are under some form of rent control. The


redevelopment took years to complete, in two phases. The second


phase was the first privately funded social housing development in the


country. And last year part of the scheme one hey RIBA prize for the


best new architecture in London. These houses are unified by this


beautiful brick material, mottled, beige brick, more familiar to us


from Bloomsbury and Georgian parts of London. I love how when you get


close to it, it has that quality. Even though the houses are designed


by two different architects, they are unified by some of the same


treatment of Windows, the way the door threshold works, and it comes


together to create a family of buildings of extremely high quality.


Behind the master plan, two of Britain's leading architecture


firms. My dad grew up here and remembers when this was a classic


early 60s slab of concrete with flats in it. That was one model of


housing provision and this is very different. Tell me how this came


about and what is different about this mode of housing. The


interesting thing about Linton is that it was pioneering when it was


built. Some of the pictures of inside the flats was very


optimistic. By the time we got here, it was a very decaying estate, quite


dangerous to live in, it had fallen apart through years of


non-maintenance, and it became a symbol of the way barking had


decayed. At that point, the council decided to say, could we design


houses with front doors and a lower rise on all of that land? Instead of


making it play grounds that no one uses, could we make it gardens for


people, communal gardens for people, and that is how it came about. You


and your practice have spent time thinking about the terraced house


and trying to reinvent it. What is the benefit of a street of them?


This was a real opportunity for us because of the first new streets in


Barking since the 60s and allowed us to go back to traditional typology


of family houses, with front doors next to each other, and a mews house


which, traditionally, is for utilitarian purposes, and here we


can allow it to be very intimate. The buildings are close together and


we can appropriate the space itself as an extension of the family home.


That is the heart of the community that we tried to engender. He worked


on the 2-macro- story houses. They have three bedrooms inside, lovely


back gardens, they are a bit smaller. To balance the street, we


used the gable end, this pitched roof, which we felt gave it an


accent and made it more symmetrical. The big feature in both is the


kitchen window. The great thing, kids are a school today, but kids


can play in the street and people can look through the window when


washing the dishes and you can enjoy a passive surveillance, so it feels


safe. It feels high quality, particularly the material. How did


you achieve that? From an early stage one of the mantras was that if


we pick a good brick it will give quality to the building, and that is


true of the landscape and the building. That is what we have got.


We picked a fine brick with a lot of texture, slightly unusual, and that


gives it the feeling that you don't know if these houses are worth ?2


million or anything. That is the whole idea, there was an ambiguity.


The other thing is the Windows. Although they look a bit like


Georgian houses, the windows are very big, so they are also full of


light, which is something else that is special. High-quality houses, a


beautiful street. Why can't we do this more often? I wish we could and


people are trying but it takes a long time. There are a lack of


models for people to see how it works, so that is one of the great


things about this and we hope it inspires other people to do it. It


is almost so simple, the front doors, the family community, all


recreated again. In a way, I think it is one of the biggest communities


ever made, Coronation Street. This is almost Coronation Street in


Barking and the community that is there is here, too. Barking Council


always wanted the bulk of the residents to come from local


families who used to live in nearby estates. It is lovely, this big


opening. This woman now lives in one of the new terraced houses and moved


in six years ago. We are sitting in your lovely garden with the sound of


trains in the background, a really nice outdoor spot. How did you end


up living in this house? I lived in a flat all my life. I came from a


tower block, the seventh floor. It had a nice view, but no garden or


green space. For me, that is a luxury. Tell me about this house and


how it suits your family. Do you feel it is well designed for a


family house? Definitely. I came from a tower block, a three-bedroom


property but very congested. I had two bedrooms which were box rooms,


where I could not even fit more than a bunk bed. No wardrobes. Even my


room was with a very tiny double bed and a wardrobe. Now, to have the


space and everyone has their own room and they can appreciate that.


One of the noticeable things is the size of the windows and the amount


of light it must let in. Has there been a good part of living here?


What is the effect? They are really nice, so you can appreciate the


weather, appreciate your garden. I never thought I would appreciate a


garden, even do gardening. I appreciate my herbs, I do


vegetables, I have a great tree and the victory. Even if it is raining,


push the blinds and appreciate the rain. What did you like about it


when you first saw it? When I saw it first time, bearing in mind I have


never lived in a house, so I was very much the ball minded. One


reason was the security. Living on the seventh floor, you feel quite


secure. Coming here, I was very concerned about a new area with new


people, living on the ground floor. You don't know if you are going to


feel that way. I am single mum with three children. When I came in, I


entered the property to have a look and when I saw the bathroom


downstairs I just fell in love. And is it nice, the street, how it


works, being able to look out from your kitchen and have the


interaction with your neighbours, which must be different to a tower


block? Yes, it is different. There is a lot of compassion. By now, we


all know each other. If we see an ambulance going, we go and ask. If


the police come, we are concerned. There is that empathy. Do you think


the community here is proud of the buildings, do they like where they


live and appreciate the quality? Yes. I think that is a very wise


move from the council, to build good quality housing, because it is civic


pride. It enables social responsibility along with it, so


people are looking after their property. Most of them really try to


look after their front garden and also back garden.


These terraced houses are the undoubted highlight of the


development for me. They do not seem likely to become stigmatised, like


the tower blocks of old. And this is state proves that social housing and


be affordable, desirable and well-designed. The New London mayor,


said the calm, says he wants to tackle the issue of affordability of


housing in London. And he could do worse than coming down here to look


at this project. It is simple, elegant, beautiful, dignified, and


for me and has relevance across the country as a prototype of the


housing we should be building in future. That is it. But finally,


here is a short clip from a quirky housing film screening as part of


the Sheffield documentary Festival this weekend.


# Some of us gay and some subdued # Some of us are just plain squares


# Greet the blend of the old and the new


# And this is ours and there's # Modernisation is better when


discreet # Design and scale in harmony


# Enhancing the original character of the street


# Positive improvements that all can see.




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