The Peabody Trust commissioned our competition-winning proposal for low cost home ownership for a site in Silvertown. The Guardian wrote: “Ash Sakula’s foil-wrapped flats show the way out of Britain’s housing cul-de-sac … some of the most imaginative and thoughtfully planned low-cost housing in London.”
“some of the most intriguing new domestic architecture in Britain.” The Guardian
“The project demonstrates that low-budget housing can be both attractive and innovative”
The scheme is innovative because it completely rethinks what a minimum-sized dwelling should be, and proposes radical new ideas for its layout, how space should be prioritised, and what it should look like.
Each apartment unit is a sort of pod, assembled on site using a maximum of prefabricated elements to achieve speed and quality in the construction. The plan of each unit is basically identical, with some re-orientation of windows where necessary, and two alternative but adjacent front door positions. Each contains a single two bedroom four person flat. The use of this single flat type maximises the advantages to be gained from prefabrication, repetition and bulk ordering of materials and components. The pods could be stacked anything from one storey up to eight storeys high. In this case the pods are in two 2-storey stacks, linked by a prefabricated steel and timber deck and staircase structure which provides access and private outside space to the upper flats.
The curved, tapering shape of each pod, and its ability to be configured in an almost infinite variety of ways around differing access arrangements make it ideally suited to small and irregular sites – in this case a small, acutely angled triangle.
We designed to the minimum 65 sq m allowed in the brief. This poses severe space constraints on a two bedroom flat, and our solution represents a radical reappraisal of the space priorities of the traditional small flat with an unconventional but, we believe, extremely workable spatial arrangement. Thus:
The Entrance doubles as a balcony space.
The Kitchen is the main social space of the flat.
The Living Room becomes a (with)Drawing Room, cosier than the kitchen for TV, music and friends and can also be used as home office or guest room.
The Hall doubles as a Sorting Zone and Laundry Zone. It is spacious and complex: not a corridor.
Bedrooms are as small as possible: clothes are stored elsewhere
WC and Bathroom are separated, both of them large and naturally lit and ventilated.