Thursday, 23 June 2011

Santiago Townhouse

The Santiago Townhouse is designed as affordable housing that incorporates the latest Green technology. The construction uses preformed, factory finished boxes that are mounted on a concrete foundation. The preformed nature of construction limits site costs so reduces the cost of construction.
From the start we viewed a house as part of a wider community and based the basic layout around a successful London square, that included a communal garden at it's heart. It is known the trees and other planting in these layouts creates a micro-climate that not only looks attractive, but can help to reduce energy costs. Communal spaces encourage communal activities and this interaction helps build a sustainable community. In the video this space is shown very simply so that the overall concept of the building layout can be viewed. In reality it should be more densely planted and include a children's play area etc.
I know how difficult it is to get on the housing ladder and wanted to create something that might ease this situation. Included in this idea is incorporating spaces that accommodate disabled people without the need for expensive alterations as well as aged family members whilst still giving them a degree of privacy. The way we approached this was to form the ground floor so that simply by closing and locking a door it can be a self contained garden flat accessed from a shared hall. Panels in the floor of stacked cupboards can be removed to fit a lift completely through the building if required. As we explored this idea it became apparent that someone could take a mortgage on the house and live in the Ground Floor flat whilst renting the upper floors to help pay the mortgage. Later on they might move upstairs and rent the Ground Floor flat. As their family grew, they might use the whole house. If the partnership broke down, one of the partners might move into the flat downstairs so the family unit could be retained whilst the situation was being resolved. As we explored the layout we could see that this would give the community a natural diversity.
Another aspect of this pre-designed subdivision of accommodation is based on an observation of where I live. In this community many of the occupants are elderly and their children have moved on. Sometimes their partner has died and they continue living in a whole house. One elderly man explained it to me like this: The houses are not so valuable that if they downsize they will get any financial gain. Proportionally flats are more expensive. The moving will create trauma, the moving away from old friends and the throwing out things they've kept for years and whose to say they will be happy where they move to? The flexible layout of the Santiago Townhouse would mean that they could downsize without moving. This helps by bring more accommodation into the market without the need to build on the countryside.
The house includes all the latest Green technology. Follow the Link to Vote:


  1. A better quality video of this project can be seen on Youtube. Search for 'Santiago Townhouse'.

  2. I've been trying to design a 'Lex' for a while I'm certain that this site will be very usefull.....