As we are living in east London and go to church in Hackney, we will be looking for sites in Tower Hamlets or Hackney in the first instance, and expand our search from that point.

We recognise the challenge of looking for an urban site. However, the Tower Hamlets council has already met up with the local self builders to talk about potential sites that could be released by the council, and we are hopeful their initiative could be a springboard for the project.

We think that repurposing a derelict building in urban London would be a delightful architectural challenge.


Why now?

The self-build housing movement is beginning to gather momentum as more and more groups are forming across the UK to develop housing that are in line with their needs. The government has recognised that the self-build sector could assist in alleviating the housing crisis, and is pledging to support the movement both financially and legislatively. This is a great opportunity to create living spaces designed by local communities!


Permaculture and Technology

Some family members of ours have become proponents of permaculture, designing systems that mimic natural ecosystems. We love that idea and want to make it happen in our new home! We aspire to build a sustainable building, and to live in an environmentally friendly way. For example, the building could use ground source heat pumps, solar panels and rainwater harvesting. Routines designed together using permaculture principles is something we would like to achieve. Some simple ideas include electric car sharing, and collaborative consumption such as bulk orders of organic food and recycling of food as compost using a wormery.

We are also ardent fans of technology. We hope, ultimately, to carshare a Tesla, build an app to run the community, and make our homes altogether smart. BMS systems to track electricity and water consumption will be the minimum, while we research other new technologies to be integrated.

Essentially, systems should be well considered and designed; including both man-made tech and natural tech.

Why touch a switch when you can speak to your lights?


What does it look like?

The diagram shows a possible layout of a four storey building with 4 flats of different sizes. The main circulation space is in the courtyard, with communal areas on the top floor and ground floor.

Depending on the number of units and the site, different numbers of flats could be proposed. The co-housing could also be designed within an existing building.

  • 4B5P 100m2
  • 3B4P 78m2
  • 1B1P 52m2
  • 1B2P 60m2
  • Total 290m2
  • Communal areas 98m2