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Paired Domesticity

Part 1 Project 2011
Charlotte Blythe
University of Brighton, UK
Paired Domesticity

Enclosed by the protected South Downs, the City of Brighton and Hove has reached capacity and is fast running out of land to house its increasing population. In response, this project aims to test a socially sustainable approach to high density housing in Moulsecoomb, a low density garden suburb in Brighton.

The scheme proposes eight affordable family homes, which are intended to promote family cohesion by adopting the literal interpretation of a study into housing and mental health by Evans, Wells and Moch (2003). Who suggest that ‘parents with inadeqaute privacy may be less able or willing to socially engage their children’.

Using the predominant semi-detached typolgy of the area, each unit shares at least one party wall with its neighbouring units and is divided into two distinct territories around a vertical void. The classification of these territories as adult and child is proposed to enhance the positive social interactions within families, by reducing the stress that is asscoiated with crowding and noise in traditional family homes. These territories are emphasised by distinct material changes and individual staircases to embody the idea that sufficient space and privacy could actively encourage social interaction. The adult spaces are structurally supportive of the children’s spaces, which cluster together about the party wall in such a way as to allow social interactions between the children of neighboring units. Within the determination of adult and child, the spaces ascend through the unit, from communal at ground floor, to private on the second floor, mirroring the changing spatial requirements of children as they develop. The overlap in the bedroom floor acts to knit the semi-detached units together.

In an effort to mediate the housing development with the mature woodland hillside on which it is proposed, the scheme includes a community ecology centre. The building consists of a series of teaching and ecology laboratories for the use of local schools and Universities. Alongside which, a network of four pedestrian walkways converge to form an intimate public plaza, providing the local community with a destination that encourages interaction with the woodlands for education, play and leisure.

Charlotte Blythe


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