FLEXIBLE HOUSING FOR A NEW PHASE IN LIFE
This was an entry into a RIBA competition to design a new concept in retirement living for the “baby boomer generation”.
A sense of community : A project that allows inhabitants to embrace their active lifestyle and encourages independence as long as possible. This is supported by a close knit community, brought together in a unique building.
Accessibility: A project that connects with its context both visually as well as having simple access routes for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. A well designed parking strategy that maximises the availability of green areas on the site.
Adaptability: Apartments that allow “aging in place”, are fully accessible for the disabled and easily adaptable to changing personal circumstances. The simple units also allow flexible usage of different parts of the building.
Inside/outside: A solution that allows access to green spaces, from private south facing balconies to common external terraces to a shared garden and access to surrounding woodland.
Public/private: A building with a distinctly private and a public side with an exciting central shared space with a welcoming interior, encouraging social interaction.
Lifetime skills development: A building that offers inhabitants the use of areas to work on their hobbies and wellness; painting, woodwork, courses, exercise etc. The size of these areas needs to be flexible and responding to request/need.
JCA proposed a very flexible solution. 35 identical base units of 60m2 each, contained a core with a disabled access wc / bath, a “work zone” and a “storage zone”. Prospective buyers could buy one or two of these units depending on their requirements. The design allowed a number of different room configurations to be achieved, all with full disabled access. A key feature was the ease with which a 120m2 unit could be converted into 2 separate dwellings or a shared apartment to respond to changes in owners’ health or personal circumstances to allow them to stay in their homes.