Housing for Houghton Regis, Bedfordshire by Riches Hawley Mikhail.Finalist in RIBA Competition for Aldwyck Housing Association .
A high-density scheme for 180 residential units in Houghton Regis. The brief asks how flats could be as desirable as houses for families in a high-density suburban scheme. Referencing Scandinavian models of shared communal space, the scheme proposes creating two new private shared gardens which form the heart of the new community. In these spaces there are barbeques, sheltered picnic tables and areas for growing vegetables, all directly accessed from your home. Children can play in safety, overlooked from the houses and flats; residents can have a say in the future of the spaces and in your communal garden you might have things you never thought you would have space or money for. The dwellings are a mix of timber clad terraced houses with their own gardens, and flats with large balconies, that all face south across the shared space. Prefabricated timber panels systems speed up construction. The streets that bound the gardens are easily understood and navigated. Overlooked by terraces and balconies they are a lively public face to the community. They lead through to a public park and cycle tracks linking together surrounding green spaces. This scheme is generous in its provision of communal space, whilst making a relatively high-density new neighbourhood where each dwelling gets plenty of daylight, views and privacy. An active consultation process with residents and the artist Nils Norman evolves designs and long-term support for the growth of the communal gardens.