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Competition: New Ideas for Housing

New London Architecture

Mayor of London

Intimate Infrastructure is a concept that proposes an alternative to more dominant forms of volume house-building and provides solutions for both private renters in the form of purpose-built shared homes, as well as considering the needs of local communities vulnerable to displacement.


It forms part of our Intimate Series research programme, see our publication here 


Winning solutions for Housing Crisis



We ask if there is a way of working at a big scale, whilst also paying attention to quality of life, urban vitality, character of place and civic relations. What are the tools for delivering high density at a human scale?


The proposals challenge the pervasive model of towers: Is there a strategy for maximising land available without incurring the formidable build costs of high-rise, to provide an economic housing solution for different groups in need?



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The project proposes a ‘missing typology’ of new-build shared housing to meet the demand of renters in the immediate term, while also accommodating larger family homes within a framework that focuses on qualities of place.  The study explores mixing different types of people rather than creating mono-tenure ‘ghettos’.  New mass-produced, modular ‘shared houses’ are proposed as standardised components, to regulate minimum levels of living standards, speed up delivery and reduce construction costs.



Permanent infrastructure is provided at ground level in the form courtyards and owner-occupied townhouses, based on the London pattern of squares and to embed the importance of street-life into areas undergoing change.  An adaptable frame structure above holds the shared homes, which can change, grow and recede according to future needs.

The collision of different tenures and groups reflects that city is homogenous and so the proposal provides a range of different conditions to suit people at different stages in life, incomes and lifestyle preferences.  To create a closer, denser layout of households, shared space is emphasised and privacy provided by the careful treatment of boundaries.




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