In order to come up with an individual interpretation of the experiments that we conducted so far, we defined a brief, some rules of the game to cristallise a guideline leading our architectural proposals.
After the break, find two of the four proposals of our team.
DESIGN PROPOSAL 1 – By Antonios AMSPACH
The first proposal starts with a negotiation between the individual and the collective space. The divisions between them give clear site to work with. The challenge starts when the suburban facade, which used to hide behind hedges and fences in order to satisfy the user’s need for security, is revealed. This architectural proposal is focused on negotiating the face to face space between the individual and the collective user. Introducing alternative territorial depths as an alternative ways of using the suburban home. Strategies of social surveillance are suggested taking the issue of social and territorial control into account. The individual can satisfy his/her need for security. The proposal treats materiality as a subtle sequential gap trying to create patterns in order to distinguish the proper distance for privacy. Finally, emergent material patterns provide the possibility for desired overlapped scenarios ( people talking on the streets of suburbia, children playing in front of the houses and not only back to the private gardens) which can give life to the suburban community.
Learning from suburbia, learning from boundaries, facing the users, understanding their needs are some of the pieces which completed the puzzle of this project. Negotiating with the users in terms of individual and collective space, privacy and materiality to reform, upgrade the experience of living in suburbia. The upper aim of this project is the lost “Hello” which is missing from today’s suburb. People bringing the city’s urban culture, conflicting with the suburban one appears to rule upon the latter. Just by saying hello will reopen opportunities for social interaction and will give back to the suburb the gift of the “welcome”.
DESIGN PROPOSAL 2 – By Sarah POOT
The second design assumes that the current inhabitants of Wenduine will need specific arrangement in terms of daily accessibility. The proposal takes advantage of the tremendous amount of space availlable (15% only of
the garden area is actually used) to redistribute the existing functions on the groundfloor and hence to, increase elderly’s autonomy.
The proposal invests the existing upper floors to relodge new family patterns (single parent family, over educated young couples seeking a first job in their late twenties, …) with lower income.
The design takes into account the fact that suburbanites use to turn their outdoor space into sequential gaps, tend to use extra-space as a buffer between their individual sphere and the outsiders. However the strategy proposes to assert this behaviour and consider sequential gaps as possible benefit, it will reconfigure the sequences of spaces in order to provoke overlapping situations. The existing living spaces are relocated in such a way that they amplify a deconstructed space thanks to bufferings alternatively playing the part of sequential gap or overlap scenario given the seasonal behaviours.
With an eye to use architecture and design as agents for social change, the proposal will try to encourage new social relationship, practices and uses of the residential space trough the materiality of reconfigured boundaries. Today’s urban fabric in the residential area of Wenduine is roughly composed of an average detached house turning back to each other and endlessly repeated. Our various interviews revealed that the inhabitants of the residendential area of wenduine claim for privacy, solitude, exposure and security.
Reinvestment of the parcels generates a tangle of alternating full and empty, of accessible zones as well as unacessible. At the crossing of three parcels or more, the courtyards offer a potential for increased use that will allow the community to interact over the course of daily activities. The shelves integrated in the walls structure may host among other things storage for gardeners, bicycles racks, vertical gardens, informal seating, rabbit breeding or other little pleasures of spare time able to generate attractiveness for meeting and exchange.
The wooden light-frame building is based on a tri-dimensional grid of 65 centimeters, which integrates all the technical and structural elements. The modularity of the grid considers the eventuality of future additions and guarantees both low cost and rapidity of construction trough prefabricated elements. The unusual thickness of these walls can also integrate a system of storage, visible or invisible, and can be accessed from one side or the other, sometimes from both.
Short spans between those walls allow a effective provision of portal system, occasionally freeing some walls of structural frame. The design features large glass openings, bluring boundaries between indoor and outdoor space while maintaining visual contact that amplifies the perceived space. Horizontal filters combined to vertical openings generates overlapping sequences of space and light, and protect the inhabitants of different levels from unwanted visual contact.
Flat roofs that overhang thoses portals are vegetalised to provide to the upper level residents non accessible extensive ornemental gardens while ensuring an excellent thermic and accoustic comfort to the inhabitants of the lower levell. Pitched roofs are uncovered to offer accessible courtyards to the upper level unit. The remaining existing structure of the roof allow the passage of light while providing privacy to its users. In general, the doors are replaced by screens and windows with frames that go beyond the mere utility range. A large rotating doorshelf for instance, plays with perspective to increase the readability of reunited spaces, while a window facing its alter ego blur the boundaries from one space to another.
Over provoking social interaction and a solution toward sustainable development in those times of growing population, the main effect of the project would be to expand in space one’s sence of belonging while reinforcing his « privacy zone ».
People tend to appropriate themselves the space they are evolving in. For instance, the path one is used to walk trough to go his work place, the shop where he does his weekly grocery shopping, the bakery he goes to in order to bring back croissants to his wife on sunday mornings are refered as « my street », « my neighbourhood », « my living environment ».
At first, colloquial use of the multiplicity of paths and potential destination spaces proposed by the design strategy will complexify and extend the scope of their belonging sense to the next street, the next neighbourhood. On the other hand, the materiality of the architectural design will guarantee high intimacy in proximity (trough the multiplication of human-scaled rooms, enclaved courtyards, and alcoves in the walls among others) and high privacy levels (ensured by a specific configuration of space and a set of screens controlling the visual relations).