I am curious about transformation of underused spaces, co-creation, rootedness, connection with nature, finding creative ways of working with communities and facilitating balanced urban developments.
I worked as architectural assistant with O’DonnelBrown Architects in Glasgow, Konishi Gaffney Architects in Edinburgh and EFFEKT Architects in Copenhagen. Also, I am a co-founder of Un/Common Glasgow (Architecture Fringe 2019 programme participants).
I would be pleased to discuss my thesis work or a future collaboration. My contact details are below.
Estate of Change
The thesis seeks to bring the diversity of urban life to Antwerp’s peripheral modernist social housing estates by improving the quality and equality of everyday spaces. Normally demolished as part of comprehensive redevelopment plans the four slab blocks of this proposition will be retained thus respecting the unique character of the modernist housing and allowing the existing residents to continue to occupy their flats during construction.
This proposition to transform modernist blocks in Luchtbal neighbourhood will focus primarily on re-working the ground level, which is so typically underused in modernist urbanism. Between the blocks and their existing pilotis the principles of shared commons, mixed use, gradation of scales, distinct spatial identities and lasting quality of design are explored.
Identified needs of the ethnically diverse and economically deprived residents were used to inform a new masterplan and related architectural interventions at multiple scales. The existing situation of a private dwelling, a common stair and an overwhelming open space outside are mediated in this proposal by adding the ‘missing’ in-between spaces, thresholds encouraging stronger social relations and trust between the residents of the blocks and the wider neighbourhood.
The proposition includes:
1. Additional ground floor housing to redefine the public realm. Existing flats are provided with new sunrooms to increase desirability and common stair landings are made more generous to provide space for conversation between neighbours;
2. New pedestrian streets with active façades linking major attraction points in the neighbourhood (for example, train station and leisure destinations) to create spaces with distinct architectural identities and reduce car dependency;
3. Affordable work spaces, community education facilities and the associated civic spaces are proposed to address unemployment and bring more visitors to the area;
4. Clear distinction between public streets and semi-private courtyards shared by the residents of the blocks in order to encourage ‘ownership’ of the underused green spaces and create opportunities to strengthen trust between neighbours. This introduces ‘fronts and backs’ to the serially planned slabs;
5. Shared community facilities such as kitchens and laundrettes in the semi-private courtyards to allow the possibility of residents to re-think their daily lives on more communal terms;
6. Architectural language, design code and materials of the newly formed spaces are respectful of the existing buildings, ease navigation and give a sense of scale, ‘warmth’, comfort and lasting quality.