The result of a limited competition, the Green Homes project at Norfolk Park sought to create a new model for affordable and sustainable housing.

Our approach brought together a diverse team including social anthropologists, artists, and leading environmental and structural engineers, to explore the role that architecture has to play in creating new communities within our cities.

Green Homes explored the role of architecture in creating new communities.

At the heart of the scheme is a communal gathering space that links the new housing with the established surrounding community. A wide street runs along the contour of the hillside creating a shared access to the houses that line either side. The houses to the upper side of the site are formed from interlocking one and two bedroom units. Larger family houses bed into the hillside on the lower edge of the street. The staggered plan of the lower houses allows the upper level block to glimpse views over the city.

The material palette is kept simple with metal cladding providing a low maintenance, protective shell that wraps up and over the houses. Glazed atriums drop light deep into the house plans and help to modulate temperature differences throughout the year. Externally, each house is accessed over a small bridge and identified by an individual fruit tree that lines the street.

Ultimately the scheme won the public vote but was not built. Lessons learned from the scheme have, however, informed wider research and practice in the form of our subsequent work with The Glass-House in developing their programme of community-led design.

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