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Living-hub. Housing development project with the audience award!

07 of April '22

The design of a coliving estate in London by Julia Sliwka and Renata Waclawowicz, architecture students at the Wrocław University of Technology, won the People's Choice Award in the Living-Hub competition organized by the UNI platform. The challenge was to design an affordable housing estate, embedded in its surroundings, for residents between the ages of 18 and 40.

The task of the Living-Hub competition was to design an affordable housing development that would provide basic housing. The project was to be located on a 2,657-square-meter plot in central London. Participants were to consider aspects such as empathy with user needs, affordability, versatility of solutions and respect for context.

 Projekt Living-hub
w Londynie, plan zagospodarowania terenu

The estate project was to be built on a plot of land in London

© Julia Sliwka, Renata Waclawowicz

The estate was to be designed for one hundred residents in two age ranges - young adults (18 to 25 years old) and working professionals (25 to 40 years old). The designs of the universal houses/units were to be based on two types of modules - for singles and couples. The blocks formed from these units were to be connected with common areas and services. Each unit was to include basic rooms: kitchen, bedroom, living room, balcony and bathroom.

Osiedle miało
powstać dla młodych osób

The apartments were to be designed for people between the ages of 18 and 40

© Julia Sliwka, Renata Waclawowicz

audience award for polish students

The works submitted from all over the world were judged by a jury chaired by Luke Tozer, an architect from London-based Pitman Tozer Architects. The top prize went to the Young G. London project by Teodora Pascu from Romania. The jury also awarded four equivalent awards.

The audience award went to the Living-hub project by Julia Sliwka and Renata Waclawowicz of the Wroclaw University of Technology, made under the direction of Dr. Anna Berbesz.

Young people entering adulthood are very often unable to buy and maintain an apartment in the city center. This is a huge global problem, but the UK is leading the way due to the high cost of living. Cheaper housing tends to lack the space needed to function properly. Therefore, the need to create low-cost, compact apartments with common spaces that provide freedom has surfaced, the authors explain.

Projekt osiedla
Living-hub w Londynie

Living-hub received the audience award

© Julia Sliwka, Renata Waclawowicz

coliving in London

The premise, through its spatial layout, supports the circular economy model - coliving, through the idea of sharing goods and resources, is an ecological form of habitation. This model of habitation, in addition to being more affordable, facilitates making friends. Among other things, it can be a good option for people looking for contacts who care about building ties and communities sharing similar values. This could include students, young professionals, digital nomads, or people who are often forced to move for work.

Living-hub w Londynie, rzut parteru Projekt Living-hub
w Londynie, rzut 1 piętra

The premises on the first floor are service spaces and the floors are apartments

© Julia Sliwka, Renata Waclawowicz

friendly scale

The authors, in order to properly design the residential development, made a number of analyses - there are service premises and parks in the near vicinity of the plot. They came to the conclusion that both the aspect of services and walking space should be an element determining the urban scale of the buildings.

In order to determine the massing of the building, we determined the radius of influence of the services adjacent to the plot and the anticipated walking route of the pedestrian. To create optimal walking conditions, we designed a complex of five buildings connected to each other by connectors with an atrium in the middle, the architects say.

The premises on the first floor are intended for service spaces, which will function on a cooperative basis. The breakthroughs in the development, designed by the students, encourage people to go inside the atrium, and show what is happening behind the building. The atrium is also intended to be a space where one can get quiet. The buildings dampen sounds, but thanks to the "punctures" they do not give the impression of confinement.

Zielone atrium
wewnątrz osiedla

In the atrium, the authors designed green "mounds"

© Julia Sliwka, Renata Waclawowicz

green mounds

In their analysis, the students noted the lack of semi-private greenery for residents of the surrounding neighborhoods. For this reason, they created "mounds" in the atrium space to provide contact with nature with their simultaneous versatility. They can be a part of a skatepark, a place to relax or act as a mini amphitheater. The second part of the introduced orderly greenery is located in the most exposed part of the plot and is a public space that allows relaxation.

Living-hub w Londynie, rzuty i typy mieszkań

floor plans and types of apartments

© Julia Sliwka, Renata Wacławowicz

hierarchy of space

In designing the apartments in the spirit of coliving, an important aspect for the authors was to introduce a clear hierarchy of privacy and space scale. These are, one by one, the most private spaces, to which only the occupants of the room have access, namely bathrooms and bedrooms. Next are the spaces for eating and preparing meals, dedicated to the residents of the two bedrooms. The next, semi-public horizontal common spaces, combine the functions of vertical communication and spaces for relaxation or work, allowing people to spend time with roommates from a shared floor. Public squares provide the context for larger events, and the pedestrian avenue connecting them functions as an integrating element for all residents of the estate.

Living-hub w Londynie, elewacje

The roofs are covered with low vegetation

© Julia Sliwka, Renata Wacławowicz

simple architecture and ecological solutions

The varied height of the buildings is a reference to the buildings surrounding the estate. The simple, conservative architecture was designed with attention to detail and sensitivity to environmental problems. Accumulation of all necessary services in the complex reduces the need to use a car. Bicycle parking and electric vehicle charging stations have been provided.

colivingowe w Londynie

The architecture of the estate fits into the diverse context of the surroundings

© Julia Sliwka, Renata Waclawowicz

In the buildings, the authors have provided for rainwater storage and solar energy harvesting (photovoltaic panels on the largest of the roofs) and used green roofs overgrown with low vegetation. The structure of the buildings is material- and energy-efficient, created as a modular system made of CLT wood. An additional advantage is the inclusion in a diverse context, both historical, historic and modern buildings in the neighborhood.

Read also about the design of a coliving estate for seniors in Cape Town, for which Jullia Sliwka together with Zuzanna Orlowska won the grand prize of the Co-life 2.0 competition.

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