Page 1


85 Shepherdess Walk: A Proposition for Urban Housing


Nana Biamah-Ofosu K1003981 AR3020 - Dissertation


Content 1.1 A Photographic Study of Housing in South East England

1-16

1.2 Introduction

17-19

1.3 On the Question of Housing

19-36

1.4 The Everyday and the Ordinary

37-48

1.5 85 Shepherdess Walk

49-77

1.7 Conclusion

79-81

1.8 Appendix 1

83-98

1.9 Appendix 2

100-103

2.0 Drawings

106-116

2.1 Bibilography

118-122

2.2 Image Credits

124-126


1.1 A Photographic Study of Housing in South East England

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1.2 Introduction


The United Nations recognizes access to adequate housing as an international human right. In its mandate, it describes adequate housing as affordable, habitable and culturally tolerable.1 This human need is recognized the world over yet it is greatly unfulfilled. A fast growing population and a lack of space contributes to the housing challenges we face; 9.2 billion is the estimated world population by 2050 of which 67% will reside in urban areas.2 In London alone, 36 000 new homes a year will be needed to keep pace with this growth. As one seeks to find solutions for delivering such large quantities of homes, an engagement with the notion of density becomes critical. However, if these homes are to be adequate as described by international human rights, an understanding of the essence of home is required. This dissertation will assess the condition of urban housing through an exploration of typological precedents and what could be learnt from them. It will assess 85 Shepherdess Walk by Sergison Bates Architects as a proposition for urban housing, aiming to describe its relationship to the urban fabric, the inclusion of attributes found in typological precedents in its design and its portrayal of the essence of home. Through this assessment, a relationship between the idea of home and those of the everyday and the ordinary will be established. By exploring the human desire to find the “shelter, privacy, comfort and independence that a house can provide,” the essence of home will be distilled and critically examined.

1

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, ‘The Right to Adequate

Housing – Fact Sheet no.21’, (2009) < http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Publications/

FS21_rev_1_Housing_en.pdf> [accessed 10 January 2013]

2

Davidovici, Irina, ‘The open question of social housing’ in Feeling at Home, (London: Sergison

Bates, 2012), p.21 19


1.3 On the Question of Housing

21


P r i va te De ve lo p m e n t H o usin g Asso c ia tio n s C o un c il F u n d e d

Figure 1 Home building statistics, England, 2011 Of the 100 000 units built, 77.31% were financed by private developers, 21.46% by housing associations and 1.23% by Council funding.

22


Housing in the United Kingdom has occupied a strange place within architectural discourse. In recent years, there has been a change in attitudes; the word ‘housing’ is no longer an illicit term, discussed by politicians during campaigns or by those members of the architectural community who do not command the celebrity status of the ‘star-architect.’ There are a growing number in the architectural community who see the potential in engaging with housing. In 2007, Britain saw its lowest figure for the construction of new homes since 1945.3 In response, the government promised to build three million new homes by 2020. However, one could remain sceptical of such reactionary solutions based more on superficial campaign tactics rather than an honest engagement which would seek to understand and reform the current thinking surrounding such a major issue. The damage caused by the Second World War presented an opportunity for a reappraisal of social housing in Britain. The extensive bombing saw “a million British homes – nine percent of the total stock,”4 destroyed. The urgent need for new homes presented a generation of architects and planners with an opportunity to determine the course of British housing. However, by the 1970s, widespread dissatisfaction regarding post-war construction and regeneration had vilified the architectural profession. Such dissatisfaction cumulated after the fatal partial collapse of Ronan Point (London, 1968) due to a gas explosion. It is this dissatisfaction that Daniel Rosbottom, writes about in regard to the current growth in housing. He warns that unless as a profession, architecture begins to critically engage with the conditions of the current housing crisis, it will “simply end up repeating or even exceeding the mistakes of the past.”5 The Thatcherite era saw a shift from the welfare state to what Margaret Thatcher described as a “home-owning democracy.”6 The 1980 Housing Act allowed council tenants to buy their homes at a reduced price in comparison to their market value. As privatisation spread, funding for new council homes declined leading to the task of house building being transferred to housing associations.

3

Woodman, Ellis, ‘London, June 2008. Bust Again’, in The Development of Housing in Britain 1870-

2008, (London: British Arts Council, 2008) p.4

4

Woodman, Ellis, The Development of Housing in Britain 1870-2008, p.62

5

Rosbottom, Daniel, Contemporary Terraced Housing Types, p.25

6

Greeves, Emily, The Development of Housing in Britain 1870-2008, (London: British Arts Council,

2008) p.82 23


The transferral of duties and existing housing stock to such organisation meant they became an important component in British housing. By 2008, housing associations owned nine percent of England’s total housing stock, a total of two million homes with a value of £77 billion.7 The private, profit lead nature of these housing associations led to a disengagement with architectural qualities as highlighted by remarks made by leading member of Housing Corporation Board that, “architects always reinvent the wheel.”8 His view that, “ all we need is three or four good house types which we can finance which then can be used throughout the country,”9 is evident in many settlements on the urban fringe. The disillusioned state of British housing can also be found in its advertising. As James Kennedy writes,

There is now no such term as ‘public housing’ with its tinge of public ownership

and accountability. This term slid from usage to be replaced with ‘social

housing’. Now the latest Treasury inspired term is ‘affordable housing.’10

The choice of language reflects attitudes of the profit led sector; long gone are the days of public accountability in social housing. The general consensus leans towards large profit margins made possible by private speculators with the ability to buy to make profit rather than to the average family with limited means. Even the notion of ‘affordable housing’ is questionable. With the average house costing £210 000, eight times the average salary in 2007,11 many cannot afford to become homeowners. In the capital, the crisis deepens; according to the Greater London Authority, “first time buyers are paying an average deposit of 28%, about £97 000,”12 whilst private rent prices are “64% higher than the rest of England.”13 The 1974 Housing Act allowed housing associations 100% government funding for their projects.14 However, subsequent changes in leadership, political and economic climate, have seen the decline of funding available for housing projects.

24

7

Parker, Richard, Funding affordable housing-New options for housing associations

(London:PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2008) p.1

8

Kennedy, James, What housing policy? Architecture Today, 37, April 1993, p.21

9

Kennedy, James, What housing policy?, p.21

10

Kennedy, James, What housing policy?, p.20

11

Department for Communities and Local Government, Homes for the future: more affordable, more

sustainable, (London: Communities and Local Government, 2007) p.10

12

Café, Rebecca, ‘Mayoral election: London’s housing crisis’, (2012) < http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/

uk-england-london-17776106> [accessed 25 September 2012] (para.4 of 26)

13

Café, Rebecca, ‘Mayoral election: London’s housing crisis’, (2012) < http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/

uk-england-london-17776106> [accessed 25 September 2012] (para.3 of 26)

14

Kennedy, James, What housing policy? p.20


In 1995, the figure stood at 55%.15 As a result of the decline in funding, many housing associations merged together to form bigger corporations in a bid to stay competitive. The financial constraints coupled with a lack of regulation within the sector means that although Britain is building more homes than it was fifteen years ago, the quality of these homes is questionable. Unlike other European countries, Britain has no minimum standards in regard to establishing the dimensions of living spaces within housing development. The lack of regulation means that new homes in Britain are the smallest dwellings in Europe.16 They also have the smallest room size on average. This supports the notion that our conservative housing sector, which remains closed to innovation, is failing to respond to society’s needs. The restrictive nature of the United Kingdom’s planning system also contributes to the problems facing the housing sector. An estimated ninety five percent of unbuilt land in the United Kingdom is protected.17 The Baker Review of Housing Supply, in 2004, reveals, “only ten percent of the UK’s land area has been urbanised, a figure that compares with 27.5 percent in Germany and 28 percent in the Netherlands.”18 Indeed in his 1906 survey, Das Englische Haus, Hermann Muthesius, a long-standing admirer of the English style, remarks that Britain was “the only advanced country in which the majority of the population still live in houses.”19 In a society, which aspires to suburban ideals of home, the question remains: how does one generate the amount of housing needed without encroaching on protected land? In 2000, endorsements made by a team led by Richard Rogers sought to answer such pertinent questions. (figure 2) The result was a piece of legislation known as Planning Policy Guidance Note 3 (PPG3). This policy encouraged building on brownfield sites in increased densities. Development of land at fifty dwellings per hectare was the encouraged standard whilst London saw developments at four hundred and thirty-five dwelling per hectare.20 15

Kennedy, James, What housing policy? p.20

16

Woodman, Ellis, ‘London, June 2008. Bust Again’, in The Development of Housing in Britain 1870-

2008, p7 17

Rosbottom, Daniel, Contemporary Terraced Housing Types, p.25

18

Woodman, Ellis, ‘London, June 2008. Bust Again’, in The Development of Housing in Britain 1870-

2008, p.5

19

Woodman, Ellis, ‘London, June 2008. Bust Again’, in The Development of Housing in Britain 1870-

2008, p.5

20

Woodman, Ellis, ‘London, June 2008. Bust Again’, in The Development of Housing in Britain 1870-

2008, p.5 25


Figure 2 Oxley Woods, Milton Keynes, 2005 Rogers, Stirk and Harbour + Partners This development by Rogers, Stirk and Harbour in conjunction with George Wimpey exemplified some of the concerns of PPG3. The project was developed on a site which was just over three hectares in size and comprised 145 dwellings per hectare.


Although such legislation tackled the need for increased densities thus tackling the problem of the uncontrolled sprawls on the urban fringe, it neglected to consider any real architectural innovation. Similar to most planning policies in the United Kingdom, this legislation was quantitative rather than qualitative, seeking solutions through a plethora of measurements rather than engaging with architectural ambition. As Mark Tuff, a partner at Sergison Bates architects, identifies, the planning culture in the United Kingdom is often less, “about ambition and a strategic understanding of dealing with situations,”21 and more about, “narrowing down, not opening up.”22 In the wake of PPG3, there was a significant increase in the construction of apartment blocks especially in city centre locations. Statistics show that in the late 1990s, apartments accounted for fifteen percent of homes built in the United Kingdom. By 2008, this figure had reached almost fifty percent.23 However, most of these apartments, usually motivated by profit rather than the ambition of providing suitable family homes, are usually left empty after completion or rented out to the student and immigrant populations. Ellis Woodman writes, “it is far from unusual to find that a unit’s sole orientation is north, towards a busy road,”24 prompting one to ask, “why would anyone buy such a place?”25 The truth of the matter is that families looking for a suitable home do not buy many of these dwellings; they appeal to the private speculative buyer seeking to make a profit. As a vehicle for innovative thought in housing, PPG3 failed to address some of the vital concerns in making homes that are suitable for families. Owing to our longrunning obsession with the house, the answer to this critical question lies in historic models of British housing. As an example, the Georgian Housing offers some strategic solutions to the problems within contemporary housing. Comparable to today, most Georgian housing developments were built speculatively by mass builders. 21

Mark Tuff, Shepherdess Walk Housing Project, Interviewed by: Nana Biamah-Ofosu,

28September 2012

22

Mark Tuff, Shepherdess Walk Housing Project, Interviewed by: Nana Biamah-Ofosu,

28 September 2012

23

Woodman, Ellis, ‘London, June 2008. Bust Again’, in The Development of Housing in Britain 1870-

2008, p.5

24

Woodman, Ellis, ‘London, June 2008. Bust Again’, in The Development of Housing in Britain 1870-

2008, p.5

25

Woodman, Ellis, ‘London, June 2008. Bust Again’, in The Development of Housing in Britain 1870-

2008, p.5

27


However, the difference between the two situations is that unlike now, the Georgian speculator had a progressive view and ambition. Unlike the monopoly that exists in today’s housing sector, “competition between estates to attract housebuyers was great and tended if anything to increase the quality of town planning.”26 The Georgian house offered a good family home while being economically viable as uniformity and standardization were derived through proportion, repetition and an overall sense of urban consistency. Another housing typology, which has been described as, “the great unsung hero of modernism,”27 is the suburban semi-detached house. Although unattainable, in the current societal climate due to shortage of land and the need for denser housing, one can learn from this typology. Based on the Garden City Movement pioneered by town planners, Barry Parker and Raymond Unwin, (Figure 3) this suburban typology is charged with strong cultural memory and alludes to what most of society acknowledge as the image of home. A survey commissioned by the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, suggests that, “the vast majority of people in the UK would prefer to live in a bungalow, a village house, a Victorian terrace or suburban semi,” 28 rather than an apartment. However, the current condition of suburbia is misleading as it quite far removed from the aspirations of the Garden City movement. Suburbia has become a falsified image sold by mass house builders to a society which dreams of a large family home in an Arcadian location. (Figure 4) In reality, suburbia is now largely mundane and ubiquitous developments that rely on an idealized image. This situation arises because the conditions that resulted in the creation of suburbia no longer exist. Although the mid-nineteenth century desire for “private domesticity, home ownership, proximity to nature and a retreat from the economic and political engagement of the city,”29 is rooted in our cultural memory, the dissolution of the “threshold between work and home,”30 means that the suburban condition is redundant. Therefore to keep producing this ideal mythicizes the condition and reduces suburbia to a purely seductive image rather than a critical response to cultural context.

28

26

Bryne, Andrew, London’s Georgian Houses, (London: Georgian Press, 1986) p. 31

27

Griffiths, Sean, ‘Homes, Houses, Housing’, in 7000 words on Housing, (London: RIBA, 2002), p.23

28

Griffiths, Sean, ‘Homes, Houses, Housing’, in 7000 words on Housing, p.22

29

Bates, Stephen, ‘Suburbia: image and reality’, in Papers 2, (London: Sergison Bates Architects,

2007), p.123

30

Bates, Stephen, ‘Suburbia: image and reality’, in Papers 2, p.123


Figure 3 A photograph of Letchworth pioneers Edward and Peggy Unwin This photograph captures the Arcadian and idyllic spirit of the Garden City movement.

Figure 4 Grable Avenue, Milton Keynes The condition of suburbia today

29


Figure 5 Langerak, Utrecht, The Netherlands Maccreanor Lavington Architects This project is a city extension at the edge of the City of Utrecht. This development provides 140 houses at a density of 80 dwellings per hectare. It is also an example of good urban planning and reinterpretation of the vernacular.

30


In other European countries, the conditions of suburbia have been better translated and made appropriate for the current social and cultural context. In The Netherlands, the government’s white paper on housing and regional planning, VINEX, addressed the country’s housing shortage. The creation of large suburban settlements on brownfield sites is a model many in the United Kingdom see as exemplar. However, unlike in the United Kingdom, where this suburban condition is created without architects and fails to engage with innovative planning, the Dutch model seeks such solutions. These estates are successful because their design is underpinned by a good sense of urban planning and an ambition to not merely replicate historic models but engage with and learn from them. Dissimilarly, to the United Kingdom, where the vernacular is addressed on a purely superficial level, dealing more with the image rather than with its essence of directness in construction, the Dutch model deals with assessing, redefining and finding relevance in the vernacular. (Figure 5) Ultimately, what the United Kingdom could learn from the Dutch model is how to reinterpret the suburban condition and produce housing at increased densities, which will still prove appealing to families. Despite its degradation by mass house builders, the suburban semi-detached house remains a critical typology, as it establishes, “an idea of housing as process rather than object, as a spatial representation that evolved over time.”31 The British public holds it in high esteem in regard to the image of home. More than any other housing typology, the suburban semi-detached house values family life. It is based around the ideology of a family home, a house that will grow and evolve with its occupants. It is a typology that is able to absorb changes and extensions with ease. This is because as a typology, it is not about the creation of an objet d’art; the suburban semi-detached house accepts that everyday life is not static or composed, rather it is an evolutionary process. This leaves one to speculate that the British attachment to the suburban semidetached house transcends the building fabric and exists in its intangible qualities. Therefore, in order to achieve the mantra, “society get the architecture it deserves,”32 one must approach the crisis of housing with tolerance; an approach that acknowledges an existing cultural memory and find ways of implementing these into the development of denser housing.

31

Griffiths, Sean, ‘Homes, Houses, Housing’, in 7000 words on Housing, p.24

32

Allford, Simon, ‘The measurement of space, time and architecture’ in 7000 words on Housing, p.4 31


The situation of housing should be established within a wider conversation of the condition of British Architecture. One could assess the conditions found in British architecture as divided, forming distinctive views on what society should value. As David Chipperfield assesses, the 1980s were a turbulent period in architectural history; “it was a confusing time and there was a big vacuum.”33 The ideals of the modern movement were beginning to be questioned by critical regionalism and its rejection of placeless modernism, which was unable to emotionally or socially respond to a particular place. This vacuum left the profession in Britain divided and without direction. Disengagement with the conditions of everyday architecture such as housing and a focus on landmark, attention-grabbing buildings, left a void in architectural development. This niche was reserved for an emerging group of young British architects that Jay Merrick calls “the new materialist,”34 a group that included Sergison Bates architects. Historically, Britain has been a difficult place for the young architect. Our architectural culture seems divided; one strand valuing an iconic image of architecture that is often, “site less and emerging from an elusive global condition,”35 and the other part rooted in a falsified sense of tradition generated by a reactionary approach in our planning systems. Both of these create a hostile environment for the emerging architect who lacks political favours needed to be included in the elusive grouping of the star-architect but yet seeks innovation through experimentation thus cannot be associated with a stifling conservatism. This grouping of architects, whose heroes include the Smithsons and artists of the 1950s and 1960s, acknowledge history’s place in the search for innovation; understanding that the modernist quest for newness, is as Adam Caruso says, “hopeless and pathetic.”36 Instead, they choose to engage with tradition, finding a relevant place for history within present day architectural discourse.

33

Gregory, Rob ‘RIBA Gold Medal winner David Chipperfield on style wars on the English condition’,

Architectural Review, 229, 1369, (March 2011), p.25-26

34

Jay Merrick, ‘The New Materialists’, Independent on Sunday, 19 February 2006, p.4

35

Caruso, Adam, ‘Cover Versions’, in The Feeling of Things, (Hove: Roundhouse Distributor, 2009)

p.12 36 32

Jay Merrick, ‘The New Materialists’, Independent on Sunday, 19 February 2006, p.4


Tradition is a matter of much wider significance. It cannot be inherited, and if you want it you must obtain it by great labour. It involves, in the first place, the historical sense, which we may call nearly indispensable to anyone who would continue to be a poet beyond his twenty-fifth year; and the historical sense involves a perception, not only of the pastness of the past, but of its presence37 TS Eliot’s polemic on the importance of tradition is relevant in this architectural context. In the same way that tradition allows a poet to continue to write past a certain age, architecture that seeks to engage with a wider, historic conversation remains relevant past its stylistic epoch. However, Eliot also insists on the struggle by which tradition is acquired, thus establishing that tradition, an engagement with the vernacular, is not merely copying the past but rather about a critical engagement with it. Sergison Bates architects actively engage with tradition; tradition in a sense of history, culture and society’s collective memory. As Stephen Bates suggests, “mediation is a key word.”38 This is evident in their response to the concept of tradition as illustrated by the written and built work. Their writing mediates between ideas and building, acting as a point of reference for a practice that comprises three partners39 whilst their built works act as a mediator in their often multifaceted sites. Their engagement with these particular themes of tradition and mediation originate from their admiration of the Smithsons. Bates recalls a period in his education at the Architectural Association: I was one of few English students in Rodrigo’s unit and questions relating to a specifically English architecture never really arose. It was only through Peter Salter’s influence that I began to engage with ideas of Englishness. It was probably through Peter Salter that I first heard a discussion of the Smithsons’ work, which would come to be a very significant influence for both of us. When, in the early years of our partnership, we discovered the Smithsons’ writings, one of the things that felt really appealing was their comfort with drawing upon their own observations40 37

Eliot, TS, ‘Tradition and the Individual Talent’, in Perspecta, 19, (1982), <http://links.jstor.org/

sici?sici=0079-0958%281982%2919%3C36%3ATATIT%3E2.0.CO%3B2-1> [accessed 4 October

2012], p.37

38

Taylor, Stephen, ‘Sergison Bates, Distortion and Mediation’ in Architect’s Journal, 221, 22, (9 June

2005), p.37

39

Mark Tuff, Shepherdess Walk Housing Project, Interviewed by: Nana Biamah-Ofosu, 28

September 2012

40

Woodman, Ellis, ‘Interview with Jonathan Sergison and Stephen Bates’ in Sergison Bates, 2G, 34,

(2), (Barcelona: Gustavo Gili, 2005), p. 134-135

33


The idea of Englishness is enshrined in ideas of tradition and cultural memory. By cultural memory, one speaks about the essence of place and society. Peter Smithson argues, My plea might spring from my feeling that to loose a sense of Englishness is a tragedy. English buildings are all very small, to use a convenient term, particularly in comparison to French ones; and Dutch architecture is even smaller, you could say we were good at doing small buildings and not any good at doing big buildings. My sense of loss at the AA being insufficiently English is that perhaps we are loosing what we were traditionally good at. 41 This view is shared by English architects such as Sergison Bates, who follow the “tradition of otherness,”42 more concerned with making architecture that deals with an intimate knowledge of construction, an awareness of materiality than the production of architectural icons. Their built work embodies their manifesto to “seek engagement with the fine line of reality in which buildings are inextricably linked to place.”43 It is in this context that Peter Smithson’s observation of Englishness concerning itself with small things must be understood. It is not for a lack of ambition that one chooses to engage with the small things but rather it is based on seeking the essence of a thing. It is about resisting the loss of tradition. On the question of housing, an engagement with tradition, examining historic typologies precedents, is necessary if we are to achieve the essence of home in housing of greater densities.

34

41

Mostafavi, Mohsen, ‘In Conversation with Peter Smithson’, in Architecture is not made with the

Brain, (London: Architectural Association, 2005), p.9

42

Davidovici, Irina, ‘Otherness and Tradition: A genealogy of difference in British modern

architecture’, in Werk, Bauen & Wohnen, 92/59, 5, (May 2005), p.55

43

Bates, Stephen, ‘Resistance’, in Papers 2, p.17


1.4 The Everyday and the Ordinary

37


The phenomenon of the everyday is an interesting notion described by Sergison Bates. Their architectural activities investigates the condition of “architecture as a backdrop to everyday life…something against which the act of inhabitation is projected.”44 This interest, explored in their work provides premise for the examination of notion of the everyday. It seems appropriate to define the everyday in relation to ordinariness in the purpose of architectural discourse relating to housing. Gerruit Confurius in describing architecture “not as the object of expert and aesthetically well-versed contemplation, but as the stage for everyday dramas, a means of communication, intervention, or simply a background,”45 intensifies the connection between the everyday and the ordinary. For Michel De Certeau, the resulting ordinariness of everyday life stemmed from its repetitive and unconscious nature. He described the everyday as “opaque, silent…surreptitious and clandestine.”46 It is these quiet qualities inherent in the everyday that bears significance in Sergison Bates’ work. Their built work examines how to grant significance to the ostensibly insignificant. Another viewpoint from which to consider the everyday is by considering it as a verb, to investigate it as an action rather than an adjective as the above does. (Figure 6)

If everyday life suggests the routine and repetitious alongside the accidental

and incidental, then perhaps its favoured site is best thought of as the ‘dwelt.’

Rather than either consigning the ‘everyday life’ to the home or privileging

the hustle and bustle of the big city, the dwelt cuts across the private and the

public, the inside and the outside. We dwell in the everyday.47

44

Davidovici, Irina, ‘Orientation + Topography’ in Papers, (London: Sergison Bates Architects, 2001),

p.48

38

45

Confurius, Gerrit, ‘The Everyday – Editorial’ in Daidalos, 75, (May 2000), p. 56

46

Highmore, Ben, ‘Dwelling on the Daily, On the term Everyday Life as used by Henri Lefebvre and

Michel de Certeau’ in Daidalos, 75, (May 2000), p. 41

47

Heidegger, Martin, ‘Building, Dwelling, Thinking’, in Poetry, Language, Thought, <http://faculty.

arch.utah.edu/miller/4270heidegger.pdf > [accessed 28th July 2012]


Ben Highmore equates the everyday to the act of dwelling thus emphasizing the action intensive element of this phenomenon. When Martin Heidegger in ‘Building, Dwelling, Thinking’ suggests that “building as dwelling, that is, as being on the earth, however, remains for man’s everyday experience that which is from the outset habitual,”48 he gives premise to the idea that the everyday is about dwelling; it is about the “art of inhabitation.”49 Viewing the everyday as the inhabited, verifies the suggestion of architecture being a setting for the everyday life to occur. Sergison Bates describe the everyday as “the set of conditions [found] in a place.”50 Their engagement with such conditions allows for “representations of the specific and universal conditions,”51 to be studied. Exploration of found conditions pays homage to architects such as the Smithsons to whom the practice feels empirically connected. Essays such as Lessons Learnt from Alison and Peter Smithson explore the gifts inherited from the architectural godparents.52 Peter Smithson in 2001, some fifty years after the birth of the movement, reflects on the ‘as found’ - it is “a small affair, it is about being careful.”53 This carefulness results from a way of looking and engaging with the everyday and the ordinary. As the Smithsons recall the ‘as found’ began in 1950s when they encountered Nigel Henderson. In his photographs, they found “a perceptive recognition of the actuality around his house in Bethnal Green: children’s pavement play-graphics…the items in the detritus on bombed sites.”54 (Figure 7) Through these photographs and other engagements with Henderson, the Smithsons developed a new way of studying their surroundings.

48

Heidegger, Martin, ‘Building, Dwelling, Thinking’, in Poetry, Language, Thought, <http://faculty.

arch.utah.edu/miller/4270heidegger.pdf > [accessed 28th July 2012]

49

Van den Heuvel, ‘Just a Few Houses…’ in Alison and Peter Smithson: from the house of the future

to a house of today, (London: Design Museum, 2004), p.9

50

Bates, Stephen, Sergison, Jonathan, ‘More Tolerance’ in Papers, (London: Sergison Bates

Architects, 2001), p.16

51

Bates, Stephen, Sergison, Jonathan, ‘More Tolerance’ in Papers, p.16

52

Louisa Hutton, ‘Godparents’ Gifts’, in Architecture is not made with the Brain, (London:

Architectural Association, 2005), p.50

53

Thomas Schregenberger, ‘As found is a small affair, it is about being careful’, in Architecture is not

made with the Brain, (London: Architectural Association, 2005), p.83

54

Van den Heuvel, ‘Picking up, Turning over and Putting with…’ in Alison and Peter Smithson: from

the house of the future to a house of today, (London: Design Museum, 2004), p.18 39


40


Figure 6 Still Images Jeanne Dielmann, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles Chantal Akermann, 1975 These still images taken from Jeanne Dielmann, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, illustrate the action of the everyday. In the film about a mother and a part-time prostitute, the act of the dwelling in the everyday is explored. Everyday activities such as sleeping, eating and sleeping are recorded as they would happen in reality. The setting of the home in which a majority of the film is located exemplifies the connections between the everyday, dwelling and the essence of home. 41


Figure 7 Chisenhale Road, 1951 Nigel Henderson Photograph, black and white, on paper 215 x 165 mm


Figure 8 Peter Smithson, Eduardo Palozzi, Alison Smithson and Nigel Henderson, photographed in Limerston Street

43


This discerning manner of looking, a main tenet of the ‘as found’, was about an enlightened way of perceiving the ordinary. For the Smithsons, it was about “openness as to how prosaic ‘things’ could re-energise [their] inventive activity.” 55, an attitude reflected by Sergison Bates who resist the modernist dogma of newness for newness sake but finds “something special”56 through “rigorous transformation of seemingly modest conditions.”57 One cannot access the ‘as found’, its influence on the Smithsons and Sergison Bates without considering its locus classicus, the 1953 exhibition held at the ICA, ‘Parallel of life and art.’ The exhibition comprised over hundred images collected by the Smithsons, Nigel Henderson and Eduardo Paolozzi. (Figure 8) The images were grouped in the exhibition catalogue under incongruent headings ranging from Anatomy to ‘Date 1901.’ The spontaneous nature of these headings reflected the character of the exhibition; photographs of varying subject matter juxtaposed in their arrangement to create “contrapuntal games…word play and cross reference.”58 (Figure 9) In reviewing the exhibition, Tom Hopkinson wrote, “the basic idea of the collection is the visual likeness between objects of a totally dissimilar nature…as if one had stumbled upon a set of basic patterns for the universe.”59 The nature of the exhibition, its relaxed yet careful treatment of the material presented, explored the ideas of the ordinary and the everyday. The images presented ordinary objects yet the manner in which they were displayed led the observer to see these images in a new way, autonomously as well as in parallel. The power of association and image was a prevailing theme in ‘Parallel of life and art’ and to the ‘as found’ sensibility. It is also a recurring theme in the work of Sergison Bates. The importance of the image is explained as such – “the experience of everyday life is highly influenced by personal and collective association relating to images of buildings,”60 providing a link between images, the everyday and architecture.

44

55

Van den Heuvel, ‘Picking up, Turning over and Putting with…’ in Alison and Peter Smithson: from

the house of the future to a house of today, (London: Design Museum, 2004), p.18

56

Bates, Stephen, Sergison, Jonathan, ‘More Tolerance’ in Papers, p.17

57

Bates, Stephen, Sergison, Jonathan, ‘More Tolerance’ in Papers, p.17

58

Van den Heuvel, ‘Picking up, Turning over and Putting with…’ in Alison and Peter Smithson: from

the house of the future to a house of today, (London: Design Museum, 2004), p.15

59

Scalbert, Irénee, ‘Parallel of Life and Art’ in Daidalos, 75, (May 2000), p. 56

60

Bates, Stephen, Sergison, Jonathan, ‘Construction’ in A+T, 13, (1999), p.63


Figure 9 Parallel of life and art, ICA, 1953

45


To understand the relations between these subjects one must realize what is meant by image. Phillip Ursprung in his assessment of image notes its ephemeral and elusive qualities. These qualities are reiterated in Henri Bergson’s definition of image. And by “image” we mean a certain existence, which is more than that which the idealist calls a representation, but less than that which the realist calls a thing – an existence placed halfway between the ‘thing’ and the ‘representation’. 61 This description forms the basis to Sergison Bates’ interpretation of image as “the aspect of an object that relates to appearance and character and which stimulates an associative and emotional response.”62 Unlike a picture, which remains objective, an image relies on subjective associations. In recognizing that society does not share the same images of the everyday, thus making the everyday subjective, Sergison Bates utilise images in a manner that evoke associations thus creating a collective memory that can be shared by society. Heinrich Tessenow (1876-1950) is another architect who Sergison Bates admire. Tessenow’s interest in the relationships between housing, dwelling and the everyday relate his work to that of a practice working almost a century later. His believed that,

46

When we neglect our housing, build cultivate to a minimum, or if housing is

barely inhabitable, then we are bound to have very little understanding for the

world in its entirety.63

61

Bergson, Henri, Matter and Memory, (London: MIT Press, 1988), p.9

62

Bates, Stephen, Sergison, Jonathan, ‘Construction’ in A+T, 13, (1999), p.63

63

Dawson, Layla, ‘Heinrich Tessenow 1876 - 1950’ in Architectural Review, (1113), July 1991), p.4


This view is indeed shared by Sergison Bates as is evident in their interest in housing. Furthermore, imagery and memory are recurrent in works by both architects. Tessenow’s drawing for a house in Pössneck depicts “doors, windows, a stack of timber, chickens, fences, but no house.”64 The drawing of a house, which does not actually show a house, illustrates the power of imagery and association. By distilling the subject to its basic components, an image which registers with a collective cultural memory, is created. It registers with the viewer’s subconscious, engaging with his or her own images of the subject being perceived. It is these elements of image, memory and perception that are dealt with at 85 Shepherdess Walk by Sergison Bates architects.

64

Steinmann, Martin, ‘An Architecture that engages with reality’, (November, 2006) http://sergison

bates.co.uk/Content/pdfs/4%20Papers%20about%20SBa/Martin%20Steinmann%20text_rev2.pdf

[accessed 24 May 2012]

47


1.5 85 Shepherdess Walk

49


It seems appropriate to commence the discourse about a house, a private dwelling, by examining it within the wider context of the city. The discussion of the house and the city becomes a pertinent theme when one considers the urban fabric that forms a city such as London. Adam Caruso and Peter St John, describe London as a city, which constitutes entirely of “background,”65 with “no grand form and no picturesque topographical features.”66 Such features combined with the fact that the majority of London is terraced housing built speculatively, allows the city to be read as a particularly compact, grounded city suited to the conditions of ordinary, everyday life. When one considers these attributes of the city, it becomes increasing important to understand how one makes a home, with all its connotations of the personal and individual, which still recognizes its obligations to the shared reality of the city. Sergison Bates acknowledges and engages with this reading of the city extensively in their project at 85 Shepherdess Walk. Firstly, through an engagement with appearance and familiar images, they engage with society’s collective memory. The building looks like a house – a single dwelling for a family, but of course it is not a house; it comprises three dwelling units, a maisonette designed for a family with a disabled daughter and two apartments: the sale of these paid for the project. As Mark Tuff identifies, “it is a number of homes within one building, which from the outside appears that it might be a house.”69 This image of a large city house feels appropriate as it presents a suitable image of housing which is suited to an urban condition. This image of a large city house is not an entirely new construct. Indeed its appropriateness here, takes precedent from historic city houses such as Chandos House (1770-1771) by Robert Adam. (Figure 10) Similarities can be read in the scale and proportion of the façade of Chandos House and that of 85 Shepherdess Walk. Furthermore, its relationship to its urban setting, strengthened by the employment of a “tolerant ordering system”70 in the façade is similar to the way in which 85 Shepherdess Walk takes que from the neighbouring Neo-Georgian terraced houses.

50

67

Caruso, Adam, St John, Peter, ‘London for Instance’ in Daidalos, 75, (May 2000), p. 18

68

Caruso, Adam, St John, Peter, ‘London for Instance’, p. 18

69

Mark Tuff, Shepherdess Walk Housing Project, Interviewed by: Nana Biamah-Ofosu, 28

September 2012

70

Sergison, Jonathan, ‘On order, proportion and grids, in Papers 2, p.102


In both buildings, the front door seems to be important element in establishing a relationship between the house and the city. At Chandos House, the position of the door relates to the plan and is therefore offset in relation to the façade. However, in reading its position in relation to the street, one finds it is positioned in the centre. This is also true at 85 Shepherdess Walk where the position of the front door in relation to the façade is a result of the position of the shared corridor in plan. The familiar image of the single front door alludes to some of the aspects of the house that society finds comforting as discussed in chapter 3. Aspects such as the singular number plate seen from the street further allude to the building’s pretence of appearing to be a house of singular ownership. (Figure 11) It is only when one enters the alcove that the nature of the building as three separate dwellings is revealed by the entry system. A sense of ownership and a differentiation between the public and private realm is established by the employment of a single entrance. The front door is conceived as an enlarged opening in a façade that employs a series of repeated openings. The substantial scale of the door and its deep reveals create something of an alcove at the entrance of the house. This alcove type space speaks a language of demarcation between the public and private realm. The front door addresses the street but also seeks to establish the private world that lies beyond. In ‘Way to work’, Stephen Bates describes the effect of the hedges in front of a terrace in Fulham he encounters on his way to work.

A glance into the yard-like area between the pavement and front door reveals

a special place which seems to be undefined in use but is at the same time,

vital to the cohesion of space. Bounded by a wall and a hedge it is now either

ignored or self consciously tended but in either case it is a place in which

everyone knows they must have good reason to enter.71

The alcove type space at the front door at 85 Shepherdess Walk could be subjected to the same reading. Although it is not classified as part of the private domain, it neither belongs to the public realm. It is a space that verges on the boundaries of these two conditions, establishing a relationship between the house and the city.

71

Bates, Stephen, ‘Way to Work’ in Papers, p.12 51


Figure 10 Chandos House Robert Adam 1770 - 1771

52


Figure 11 Entrance at 85 Shepherdess Walk

53


85 Shepherdess Walk addresses its responsibility towards the collective reality of the city is by engaging with the “modest, slack and peripheral”72 nature of its site. Shepherdess Walk, situated on the periphery of Borough of Hackney, finds itself close to the City and Islington but also within reach of the East End. Its geographical location in relation to the city makes a popular route for commuters who use the area as a thoroughfare to get to and from work in the City. At a smaller scale of the neighbourhood, 85 Shepherdess Walk, addresses the disparate housing types within its locality. It mediates between the 19th century Georgian and early Victorian housing terrace on the west and the 1970s housing on the east side. To the south west of the site is Shepherdess Walk Park, a large, open, grassed space. Further south, there are large Victorian warehouses, most of which are now converted into commercial or resident loft spaces. (Figure 12) The site was an empty plot at the end of the Victorian terrace. (Figure 13 & 14) It had become vacant in the 1970s when the council decided to demolish the end of terrace house due its structural instability. Prior to the development of the new building, the site had been infilled and landscaped to form a garden that was accessible from the neighbouring gardens as well as from the street. The modest scale of the project meant it had the opportunity to mediate between the differing elements of the site. The building completes the existing Victorian terrace without discrediting the 1970s housing estate in doing so. It acknowledges both elements through its materiality, construction and façades. The nature of the building, grafted onto the end of the “Victorian ‘Georgian-style’ terrace,”73 allowed Sergison Bates to explore their interest in Georgian architecture, which championed large developments of speculatively built terraces. The language of rhythm, abstraction and repetition provided an austere aesthetic that registered with the Puritan social values of the time. In addressing the building’s role in completing an existing terrace, Sergison Bates acknowledges the lack of a fixed solution to this matter in Georgian architecture. Sometimes the end wall of the terrace was left completely blank in what Neave Brown refers to as “endage.” 74 This manner allowed privacy as well as maintaining the formality of the street front.

54

72

Davidovici, Irina, ‘Orientation + Topography’ in Papers, p.48

73

Sergison, Jonathan, ‘Working with appearances’ in Papers 2, p.63

74

Woods, Brendan, ‘Ambiguity and Authenticity’ in Architeture Today, 118, (April 2004) p.23


85 Shepherdess Wal k Exi sti ng Terrace Shepherdess Wal k Park 1970s H ousi ng

Above - Figure 12 Site plan showing relationship between the building and the site as existing Below - Figure 13 & 14 Condition of the vacant plot at the end of the terrace prior to construction 55


Sometimes, a terrace turns the corner with windows.(Figure 15) In other occurrences, the rhythm of the front elevation was extended to form the end elevation, sometimes adopting a looser interpretation of the formality of the front elevation. At 85 Shepherdess Walk, the latter is applied; the result of which feels appropriate in mediating between the two sides of the street. The south elevation, which addresses the end wall of another terrace, is arranged in a looser composition relating to the plan of the rooms beyond. This judged looseness in the composition acknowledges the eminence of front elevation and establishes what Brendan Woods, calls a “pleasing ambiguity.”75 (Figure 16) This notion can be extended further to examine the nature of the Georgian house. When built, these houses were normally intended to house a single middle class family unit. Their purpose today, is far from the original intent; very few are still single-family homes with the majority having been converted for flats or commercial use. In the case of 85 Shepherdess Walk, this ambiguity refers to the democratic and equal nature of the three dwellings that lie behind the façade. This sense of independence between the section and façade deviates from the Georgian sentiment of “classical ordering [that] dictates the activities that happen in section behind the façade.”76 The street elevation, being the principal façade, follows the formal language of the existing terrace. However, it carries it own ideas as a new building by acknowledging but not strictly adhering to the sense of ordering exemplified within the terrace. 85 Shepherdess Walk exemplifies Sergison Bates’ polemic of seeking newness through the examination of the existing. By being selective about what elements of the image of the terrace they wish to engage with, they create a form that is not burdened with the associative meaning attached to a particular architectural form. References to the existing terrace façade are made through the use of railings and the notion of cut-out spaces. These elements also feel particularly appropriate to the urban fabric of the city. In keeping with the railings applied on the existing terrace, the railings applied at the ground level of 85 Shepherdess walk, evoke a sense of territory, enhancing the relationship between the public and private realms.

56

75

Woods, Brendan, ‘Ambiguity and Authenticity’ in Architeture Today, p.23

76

Sergison, Jonathan, ‘Working with appearances’ in Papers 2, p.63


Above - Figure 15 Junction at Fitzroy Street and Warren Street Example of how a terrace is completed by turning the corner with windows Below - Figure 16 South elevation of 85 Shepherdess Walk.

57


The fleeting demarcations of the private and public realms are explored here; there is a certain level of proximity to the pavement, the public realm, yet a sense of separation is established when the railings are considered as a barrier denoting where the private begins. The cut-out space which Tuff observes to be a particularly London phenomenon77, serves to enhance the relationship between the house and the city. It provides an insight into the private realm, which enriches the public territory. Yet, it serves a very practical purpose of allowing light to penetrate the lower ground floor level of the maisonette. These cut-out spaces also occur at the back of the building. However, in that context they open up the basement area thus creating a more welcoming space. The use of fenestration also creates a relationship between the building, terrace and street. The small top hung windows line through with the mid-rail of the neighbouring sash windows to establish a sense of unison and continuity in the street façade. (Figure 17) The formal differences in the facades of 85 Shepherdess Walk establish the building in relation to Sergison Bates’ influences. As a practice they are explicit about the interest in the work of the Smithsons. This is expressed in the execution of the Janus face. The Smithsons first make reference to the Janus face in ‘Italian Thoughts.’ They describe it as a means of mediation and engaging with a building’s surroundings.78 At 85 Shepherdess Walk, the reference to Janus face, through the multifaceted nature of the building, allows a pleasant sense of ambiguity that addresses the layered nature of the site. The front elevation is a rigorous study and interpretation of the existing Neo-Georgian façade whilst the south and back elevations address other neighbouring elements within the site.

58

77

Mark Tuff, Shepherdess Walk Housing Project, Interviewed by: Nana Biamah-Ofosu, 28

September 2012

78

Sergison, Jonathan, ‘Lessons learnt from Alison and Peter Smithson’ in Papers 2, p.52


Above - Figure 17 Window details such as the mid rail of the window lining up with the neighbouring sash window establish rhythm in the street facade Below - Figure 18 The building completes an existing Neo-Georgian terrace 59


Figures 19, 20, 21 Sudgen House, Watford,1956 Alison and Peter Smithson

60

An exploration of the Janus face


Figures 22, 23, 24 Facades of 85 Shepherdess Walk An exploration of the Janus face

61


The expression of the facades is linked to the materiality of the building. In the use of brick at 85 Shepherdess Walk, Sergison Bates engages with construction and the poetic elements of material. The construction of the building as a timber framed structure “conceived of as a shell, or empty box waiting to be filled,”79 with a “weighty overcoat,”80 of brickwork, implies the associative role of brick. Asked what a brick wanted to be at 85 Shepherdess Walk, Tuff acknowledges the practice’s changing attitudes towards the material.81 At 85 Shepherdess Walk, the brick is expressed as being a skin rather than a form of weighty masonry construction. The timber-framed structure, made from prefabricated timber panel construction, adopts the use of engineered beams and softwood joints and studs, cellulose insulation and fibre-based sheating. The factory-produced components of the structure were assembled within five working days.82 (Figures 25&26)

62

79

Sergison Bates Architects, ‘Urban Housing, Hackney, London” in Sergison Bates, 2G, 34, (2),

(Barcelona: Gustavo Gili, 2005), p. 36

80

Sergison Bates Architects, ‘Urban Housing, Hackney, London” in Sergison Bates, p. 37

81

Mark Tuff, Shepherdess Walk Housing Project, Interviewed by: Nana Biamah-Ofosu, 28

September 2012

82

Sergison Bates Architects, ‘Urban Housing, Hackney, London” in Sergison Bates, 2G, 34, (2),

(Barcelona: Gustavo Gili, 2005), p. 36


Figures 25, 26 Construction of 85 Shepherdess Walk Ioana Marinescu 63


The structure is clad with two different types of brick (Figure 27 & 28); a hard brown/ black engineering brick with flush mortar joints pigmented to match the brick and a light calcium silicate brick, demarcating the extent of the maisonette on the ground and lower ground levels. Through their choice of construction method, Sergison Bates explore another keen interest of theirs; construction as “a media, simultaneous with form,”83 The cladding at 85 Shepherdess Walk expresses duality in its construction; it is about a way of making a building yet it registers on an emotional level. This duality can be extended in the immediate manifestation of the brick. It presents the building as a considerable mass which strongly yet gracefully asserts its position in site. Upon closer inspection, the brickwork can be read as a surface; an approach to a poetic position rather than structure. The dichotomy noted is shared by Tuff in his view that the treatment of the brick at 85 Shepherdess Walk was about how one “deliberately undermines the brick,”84 taking it from its traditional role in loadbearing construction and transforming it a poetic expression of material. This undermining of the brick is achieved through the net of open perpends laid out at 900mm horizontal and 750mm vertical centres in the brickwork which allude to the notion of surface. (Figure 29) These also serve a practical purpose of allowing moisture to migrate through the breathing wall construction employed. In ‘Wickerwork, weaving and the wall effect’, Bates, discusses the notion of surface, the relationship between material and effect. A connection between their work and that of Adolf Loos and Gottfried Semper is made. Through an examination of Semper’s theories in ‘The four elements of architecture: a contribution to a comparative study of architecture’ (1851), Bates establishes the idea of the “wall as a bearer of meaning.”85 The brickwork at 85 Shepherdess Walk is a manifestation of this idea. The conceptual approach to construction employed allows the brickwork to manifest poetic expression as it is freed of its structural role. It becomes a surface, capable of engaging with a cultural memory. As Adolf Loos suggested, surface is the part of architecture that provokes a response to buildings; “terror before a prison, the fear of God a religious building should inspire.”86

64

83

Bates, Stephen, Sergison, Jonathan, ‘An Architecture of Tolerance’, in A+T, 13, (1999) p.51

84

Mark Tuff, Shepherdess Walk Housing Project, Interviewed by: Nana Biamah-Ofosu, 28

September 2012

85

Bates, Stephen, ‘Wickerwork, weaving and the wall effect’ in Papers 2, p.33

86

Bates, Stephen, ‘Wickerwork, weaving and the wall effect’ in Papers 2, p.31


Above - Figures 27 & 28 Brick constructiion Ioana Marinescu Below - Figure 29 Open perpends in the brickwork

65


At 85 Shepherdess Walk, the brickwork connotes ideas about home and ordinariness. It speaks the language of ordinariness; “nothing could be humbler in substance, more modest in manufacture, simpler in shape.”87 It is these attributes of the brick that perhaps make it suitable to expression of the ordinary. The choice of brick at 85 Shepherdess Walk relates the building to its wider context and readdresses the notion of the house and the city. The brick’s emblematic status as the material of London’s urban grain means it is able to register with the cultural memory of the city’s inhabitants. Further afield, brick is the material of the terraced and semi-detached houses that are regarded highly by society. As Tuff notes, “people like things that are made of brick because that is what a house is made from.” 88 The brown/black engineering brick used is another instance where technicality offers poetic expression. It is a curious choice in relation to the London stock brick of the existing terrace. (Figure 30) However, its tonal similarity to the brick of the 1970s housing to the east of the site, means the building is able to mediate between the two typologies within the site. The colour of the brick registers with the urban grain of the city. In 1925, Heinrich Tessenow wrote,

Quiet forms and quiet colours always tend to have something very urban or

common, because the urban demands that we suppress the personal. And,

therefore, the forms and the colours that we show in public will necessarily be

more familiar, the more we love the urban. 89

If examined metaphorically, the colour of the brick, is a response to the urban; an acknowledgement of the building’s responsibility towards the collective reality of the city. The quiet nature of the building achieved through its materiality, form and mass exemplify Tessenow thoughts about the urban.

66

87

St John Wilson, Colin, ‘Brick’ in Scroope, p.12

88

Mark Tuff, Shepherdess Walk Housing Project, Interviewed by: Nana Biamah-Ofosu, 28

September 2012

89

Steinmann, Martin, ‘An Architecture that engages with reality’, (November, 2006) http://

sergisonbates.co.uk/Content/pdfs/4%20Papers%20about%20SBa/Martin%20Steinmann%20

text_rev2.pdf [accessed 24 May 2012]


Figure 30 85 Shepherdess Walk in relationship to the existing terrace. The contrast between the brown/black engineering brick and the London stock brick of the terrace is evident.

67


Adrian Forty, in ‘The comfort of Strangeness’, discusses the notion of comfort in relation to the work of Sergison Bates. He expresses comfort as not only a physical state but as psychological phenomenon. Here, comfort is explored through the familiar and cultural memory. Phillip Ursprung upon visiting the building spoke about the dichotomy of its presence; it appeared simultaneously present and absent.90 It is this attribute, its ability to dissolve into its surroundings yet stay in one’s memory that addresses comfort as a psychological phenomenon. The “conscious conceptualisation of construction”91 is evident in the relationships between structure, surface and material in the creation of atmosphere. The use of latent structural solutions allow for a greater expression of spatial qualities. In expressing a difference between cladding and lining92, Sergison Bates are able to articulate the conditions of outside and inside, thus establishing the difference between the public and private. The plasterboard surface which is offset from the structure to provide a zone for services to run, explores the idea of lining. This is revealed at certain points where linings increase to accommodate larger diameters of services pipes. Skirting and architraves are constructed with the same notion of lining; 18mm thick density fibreboard is added to walls providing dado high wall linings. At doorways, these increase in width from 75mm to 125mm to accommodate a light switch. (Figure 31) The interior linings mean that banal yet indispensable details are absorbed while expressing a volumetric nature in the role of the plasterboard that is able to create a delicately distorted geometry in each room. This sense of distortion is relative to the overall plan of the building; the plan is set at 95 and 85 degrees in relation to the topographical conditions of the site.

68

90

Ursprung, Phillip, ‘The fragile surface of everyday life, or what happened to realism?’ in Sergison

Bates, p.84

91

Rosbottom, Daniel, ‘Culture: Deconstructing Construction’ in Building Design, (19 May 2006) p.21

92

Bates, Stephen, Sergison, Jonathan, ‘Working with Tolerance, in ARQ: architectural research

quarterly, 3, (3), (1999), p.226


Figure 31 Plasterboard linings and detail

69


Figure 32 Holly Street Residents Series London, 1998 Tom Hunter

70

Tom Hunterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s photographs capture the spirit of inhabitation. In this photographic essay where photographs are taken of each household in the same position of the apartment, a sense of ownership in inhabitation is explored.


Figure 33 Living room at 85c Shepherdess Walk

71


The simplicity of the interiors is conducive to the act of making a home especially for an unknown client, as is the case in delivering mass housing. At 85 Shepherdess Walk the relationship between the end user, the client and architects is an interesting scenario, which informs the design. The ground floor maisonette, an apartment for a family with a disabled daughter, was designed around the needs of the family thus making it easier to achieve their notions of home. Contrastingly, the two apartments above, where the end-user was unknown, establish an interesting discussion about the essence of home. The unadorned surfaces of the spaces can absorb the character of its inhabitants. The residents at 85c Shepherdess Walk appreciate this neutrality; the spaces are able to express one’s personality and sense of identity – “there is space that is your space and you do with that space what you wish.”93 The expression of freedom is inherent in creating spaces that adhere to the private connotations of the home. (Figure 32 & 33) Chapter three explored the relationship between public perceptions of home and the realities of today’s housing situation. Findings revealed society’s long running fixation with the house, especially that of the suburban semi-detached house. The essence of home is successfully articulated in this typology. At 85 Shepherdess Walk, Sergison Bates engages with these attributes in their expression of the home. The configuration of spaces is similar to those found in precedent typologies such as the Georgian house, the suburban semi-detached and the English terrace house, thus reiterating “the common ground of influence and affinities with typological precedent.”94 Common to the three typological precedents and 85 Shepherdess Walk, is the idea of the hallway. In banal examples of housing, the hallways are the least engaging spaces. For reasons of efficiency – it does not technically require natural light to function - these are buried deep in the core of plan with apartments arranged around it. This configuration leads to an uninviting space that suffers from a lack of immediate ownership. At 85 Shepherdess Walk, owing to the scale of the building, the hallway is situated at the front of the plan where it benefits from daylight. (Figure 34) A sense of generosity in scale redefines this unceremonious space into a place with purpose and dignity. (Figure 35)

72

93

Raffaele, Pia, Interview with Residents at 85c Shepherdess Walk, Interviewed by: Nana Biamah-

Ofosu, 3 August 2012

94

Bates, Stephen, Sergison, Jonathan, Feeling at Home, (London: Sergison Bates, 2012) p.1


1

Figure 34 Second floor plan 1 Hallway

Figure 35 Hallway to second floor apartment 85c Shepherdess Walk

73


As with the precedent typologies, the hallway space, is treated as an inhabitable room, “that anticipates the public but is not a public place.”95 It enables a transition between the public and private realms. A successful attribute of the suburban semi-detached house is its ability to absorb changes and extensions, owing to the abundance of space, a quality that is not available in creating high-density housing. At 85 Shepherdess Walk, Sergison Bates demonstrates the possibility for adaptability even within apartment style living. Their appreciation of the organisation of sequenced spaces in 16th century English homes such as Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire96 informs the configuration of the plans at 85 Shepherdess Walk, “which are developed centrifugally, with habitable rooms arranged expediently around the perimeter.”97 The sense of interconnectedness explored, although limited by the building regulations, demonstrates an engagement with the notion of adaptability. Adaptability is pertinent in the design of high-density housing, especially when building speculatively for an unknown occupant. A sensibility in design that addresses the needs of an increasingly diversified population is required. The understanding of tolerance as a means of “offering tangible solutions for connecting spaces,”98 is evident at 85 Shepherdess Walk. The double doors between the living rooms and kitchens, which align with large inward opening casement windows in the kitchens, provide a view into and beyond the adjoining space thus achieving a sense of interconnectedness. There is a sense of fluidity and movement between social spaces whilst privacy is maintained within the private realms of the bedrooms. In resisting the diagrammatic approach to ‘open plan living’, which lacks an appreciation of the need for separation and territory, Sergison Bates establishes an arrangement of space, which offers choice as to how it might be inhabited.

74

95

Forty, Adrain,’The Comfort of Strangeness’ in Sergison Bates, 2G, p.

96

Bates, Stephen, Sergison Jonathan, ‘Inspiration: Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire,” in Building Design

Online. < http://www.sergisonbates.co.uk/Content/pdfs/1%20News/BD%20Hardwick%20

Hall_040211.pdf> [accessed: 01 January 2013]

97

Bates, Stephen, Sergison, Jonathan, ‘Memoria II / Memory’, A+T, 17, (1999) p.35-41

98

Bates, Stephen, Sergison, Jonathan, ‘An Architecture of Tolerance’,

A+T, 13, (1999) p.61


Figures 36, 37 Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire

75


As Tuff expresses, “in interconnectedness, there is an opportunity for disconnectedness.”99 This sentiment is shared by the residents at 85c Shepherdess Walk, for whom the ability to be able to close a door and distinguish between private and public, is a welcomed change from their previous living arrangements in a studio apartment.100 Sergison Bates at 85 Shepherdess Walk, celebrate ordinary and everyday situations. An engagement with the prosaic elements of everyday life creates an architecture that celebrates the human act of dwelling; essentially finding the essence of home. Davidovici’s reflection on their architecture being a “backdrop to everyday life,”101 presents a theatrical aspect to their work. At 85 Shepherdess Walk, the employment of the familiar images and aspects of dwelling forms the basis of this theatrical attribute, evident in the manipulation of common, prosaic things. The doors are slightly wider, having a one-metre width. The door handles, designed specifically to capture the essence of ordinariness, sits at 1.25 metre, at the same height as the light switch. (Figure 38) This transforms these two acts into a sequence that celebrates the simple moment of entering a room. It is these heroic celebrations of even the most banal acts of inhabitation that express the feeling of home as they address familiar images that society shares.

76

99

Mark Tuff, Shepherdess Walk Housing Project, Interviewed by: Nana Biamah-Ofosu, 28

September 2012

100

Raffaele, Pia, Interview with Residents at 85c Shepherdess Walk, Interviewed by: Nana Biamah-

Ofosu, 3 August 2012

101

Davidovici, Irina, ‘Orientation + Topography’ in Papers, p.48


Figure 38 Everyday details

77


78


1.6 Conclusion

79


If architecture is about commodity, firmness and delight, as Vitruvius described, then housing has forgotten about commodity and firmness and it is increasingly forgetting about delight. The importance of home is central to humankind; it is where we dwell, how we inhabit the earth. What this dissertation achieves is establishing the essence of home, the everyday and the ordinary and its relation to humankind. By considering the essence of these matters as exemplified by Sergison Bates at 85 Shepherdess Walk, it is possible to understand how architecture influences and to some extent reflects how we live. In relation to the question on housing, 85 Shepherdess Walk exemplifies how one might translate the qualities of home that society values into housing built at increased densities. However, one must question its overall appropriateness as a proposal for denser housing. The circumstances that surround the project, its site, the relationships between the client, architect and end user and its scale and brief perhaps make it unable to repeat. However, what it does offer is way of engaging with the various issues on how to capture the essence of home in housing. One could look at other projects by Sergison Bates as proposals for creating denser housing; their project in Wandsworth comes to mind. It is their largest housing project in London; located in a busy, urbanised setting. The project involved the partial demolition, refurbishment and extension to existing buildings. A new building was also added. The project, which provides office spaces and housing, deals with the idea of making a home in a dense, urban setting. It employs many of the themes and ideas noted at 85 Shepherdess Walk: the idea of the hallway, transitions and engagement between public and private and the relationship between the home and the city. In conclusion, what is recognized is the need for more housing - London needs 36, 000 new homes a year to keep pace with the growth in population.102 However, what is apparent it that for these new homes to be adequate, an engagement with the issues raised is necessary. One must investigate the successful typologies of the past and translate their qualities into building denser housing because although the conditions are different; we live in a different societal, economic and cultural climate, the inherent human need to feel at home remains; it transcends time and circumstance.

80

102

NLA, Londonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Centre for the Built Environment, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Housing Londonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; (London, 2012)


Figure 39, 40, 41 Wandsworth Housing Project Sergison Bates Architects 1999-2004 81


Appendix 1 Interview with Mark Tuff Sergison Bates Architects

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Nana Biamah-Ofosu: The relationship between the house and the city is a very interesting topic, which the work of the practice explores deeply and critically. How would you express this relationship? What is important about this relationship? Mark Tuff: The first thing to say is our work is not trying to be pedantic at all. As you correctly described about Shepherdess Walk, it is like a house; of course it is not a house, it is a number of homes within one building, which from the outside appears that it might be a house. As I understand, from the thrust of what you are researching, it (85 Shepherdess Walk), describes the word, ‘house’ because somehow the house is seen as an ideal, to be attained. But within the understanding that you are talking about housing not houses, you are inevitably not talking about how one makes houses; you are talking about how you make a level of dense housing but in a way that tries to capture some of things that people find comforting about the house. Nana: The condition of making denser housing is an interesting topic. It makes an interesting counterpoint to the aspirations of our society. As a society we desire the image of suburban living; typically the semi detached house with a garden. In reality, however, our current situation cannot afford such conditions. These conditions, founded by the Garden City movement, were aspirations for a particular society that held its own values. However, they are unrealistic and unattainable for our society. This raises the question: how do you successfully merge the two situations, what society desires and what is actually reality? The reality is we cannot afford vast urban sprawls and we need to engage with the idea of denser housing. 84

Mark: I can see why Shepherdess Walk is of interest to you. Appearance wise it is most like a house. But in some ways, it is lucky. Its brief is very modest indeed, a maisonette and two flats. Therefore, in some ways, it had a less difficult job than perhaps a later project; one that I believe tries to grapple more with this question of home perhaps rather than house in the city. At the Wandsworth workshops we explored some of the things that surround that question. One of the things that characterises the house is the notion of the front door. In a way, this notion has entered into commonplace in urban design in London and indeed in the United Kingdom; almost to the extent that it is now slightly clichéd. There is now an expectation, especially in discussions with government bodies that one talks about front doors and activating the street. This, however, should not devalue the original idea. But because it has become such a cliché, it has become something that gets trotted out rather than something that actually gets thought about. But on this project (Shepherdess Walk), which was started in 1996 (construction began in 1999), the notions of the front door and activating the street had not really developed as the kinds of things that we talked about constantly. What interested us in this project were some of the key characteristics of the house. The building is grafted onto the end of a terrace of houses. We consciously worked with this situation and manipulated those and made them into something that felt house-like and therefore home-like because the idea of comfort comes from that image of home. Things like the idea of the single front


door were important aspects. The faรงade employs a repeated size opening as a general rule and then there is an enlarged opening, the front door, providing a size of generosity. We were interested in the terraced typology where there is a fairly consistent pattern book approach to the way fenestration occurs, where there is a repeated fenestration on the first and second floors and then the position of the door offsets the wall between the hallway space and the main space, therefore making one room and ultimately, you end up with a single window which is then shifted in the faรงade. These kinds of readings of the fundamental characteristics of the houses that make up the terrace were something we were interested in. Within the slightly larger proportions of this building, we were not working with exactly the same system of organisation of plan but we were interested in how we could still project such elements onto the outside reading of the building. We were also interested in the hall space, which we believe is an important space. It characterises that feeling of single home in the city. In the most banal flat developments, there are a number of thresholds to that hall; there is the foyer space at ground floor and then there is probably a lift and then there is the next kind of space. One could understand that entire sequence as being one. Then, the next space which is shared by you and your neighbours, tends to be the meanest space it can possibly be and, inevitably for reasons of efficiency, because it does not technically need light in order to function, it ends up buried deep in the core of the plan with other flats arranged around it. Certainly that meanness about the feeling of this space seems connected with this idea of the impersonal and the reinforcing of the feeling of housing and not home. As a

result, what was interesting for us in this project (Shepherdess Walk), frankly because of its scale but also because of the way we chose to organise the plan, was the idea of locating the hallway at the front as this provided the opportunity for it to have natural daylight, a sense of generosity and made it feel more like what it is like to live in a house. Nana: I visited the residents of 85c Shepherdess Walk. What I found particularly interesting was the condition of the hallway. What is usually the least thoughtful and unloved space in housing is transformed into a key space in its own right through spatial generosity and light. It becomes like a room rather than a mean corridor. When one thinks of the meaning of this space, one can begin to imagine its habitation; it signifies the departure from the public realm but at the same time one is not yet in the privacy of their home. The residents use this space to mitigate between the public and private realm; bicycles, boots and umbrellas are stored here. Here, this is not a forgotten space; it is carefully thought about to enable an interaction between the home and the street. Mark: The idea of the importance of the hall is something that we have consistently tried to explore in all our housing projects. As mentioned before, this (Shepherdess Walk) is a rather privileged project therefore we could explore the notion of a hall in its purest form. However, a project such as the Wandsworth workshop provides an interesting counterpoint because in some ways it is more about your focus, which is larger scaled, dense housing. But in other ways, it is very relevant to the other aspect, which you raise, which is that just as the semi-detached suburban house is unachievable, in a way neither is the Shepherdess Walk house as a 85


model for denser housing. It had a very unique set of circumstances in terms of the site being this space at the end of a terrace that was bombed in the Second World War and had buttresses put up to provide structural stability. It was left there, potent, waiting for something to happen, for a very long time. Nana: I found out that the neighbours had used the empty site as a garden and were quite upset by the new development as they were loosing their garden. Mark: It was quite an experience to work on this project because it was a very unique situation in terms of the community that lived there. It was very special because of the brief and client and the community that was established there. It felt like one was being invited in rather than that you were in any way coming to impose something upon them. It was at the end of a terrace on Shepherdess Walk and there had been a Shepherdess Walk Housing Cooperative which had been born in the 1970s originally, quite left wing, hippie in its roots, which had a lot of intelligent people within the organisation who were able to engage in discussion. Sunand Prasad, a former RIBA President, who is part of the Shepherdess Walk Housing Cooperative, acted as enabler and critique for this project. This contributed to a very particular set of circumstance, part of which was the fact that neighbours had used the site as part of their garden. But the point is that it is unrepeatable not just because of those wonderful circumstances but actually in terms of it being an idea about densification. Where as the Wandsworth workshop project, is all about taking a brownfield site, an existing factory building and making it more than it was without removing what it was but rather adding to it. We added to the existing factory 86

buildings and made a new building beside it. Therefore, it is interesting to include it in this discussion because it goes some way to answering the question and it grappled very consciously with this question of how you make homes that feel like homes rather than a kind of ubiquitous rental flat. Its site, Wandsworth Road is quite a tough place, with three or four lane traffic and a lot of buses. The project was built on top of an old B1 industrial building. Originally, when we came to it, it was an incredibly raw in its context with the people who were there, it was a thriving workshop and perhaps it is a shame that quality of it has been lost but it still remains a place of work which now has housing on top. The question then becomes how one makes that experience of moving from that very hostile street to oneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s home and as you described getting through this a series of spaces; pavement to front door. But this transition has to be made in a gradual way; it is healthier for one to feel that this transition is being made in a series of steps. Therefore, in that instance we employed the use of this top floor walkway that is actually open to the air, so that one can still hear the street despite being by that point three storeys high in the air, which is open to the elements, you can still see if it is raining, snowing or sunny, although it is a covered space that offers a sense of protection. All these elements are about gradually building up the threshold between the street and the front door. Perhaps the other thing we were interested in the Shepherdess Walk project, going back to its house-like qualities and its relationship to the city, was the question about the type that we were grafting this building unto, the terrace. The notion of these cut-out spaces that connect to the building is rather peculiarly English maybe even


more present and relevant in London. Of course they have a very practical reason behind them, which is about making more space. But it also does something in terms of the relationship between the public and private realms. Although one also has to think about these spaces as an improvement of the space inside, it offers a sense of distance. It also gives something to the public realm that would not exist without this area; it provides that sense of opening and closing. It provides an insight into the private world that actually enriches the public realm. It is about more than just simply protecting the private realm. This was something that was very important in our exploration. It occurs at both the front and the back. However, at the back, it is obviously not about a relationship between the private and public realms; what it is here is an interesting expression of type. The opening up of the basement through these areas, means that it offers quite a different kind of experience of being down there in comparison to the extrusion of the upper levels. Nana: Most of your early housing projects are situated in London or the boundaries of the M25. Is there a particular relationship between your housing work and London as a city, a background and an urban fabric? Mark: It is quite difficult to untangle this question because as you identify it was much of our early work that was in London and we have increasingly worked less in London as the years have gone by although this is not particularly through design. What we have found really interesting is that by operating outside of London, it has enabled us to be clearer about what it does mean to be in London. I suspect that if we had ever stayed

operating in London we would have found it more challenging to obtain that distance that is necessarily for critically looking at something. The kind of things that have been identified in the Shepherdess Walk project which are about learning from the city around are quite phenomenological aspects of the city and are quite small scaled, detailed things. Through operating abroad, obviously many of those things are not relevant because of their smallscaled nature. What is interesting is that one is able to see a bigger scale of things. It is not so much about being able to transfer them but by going somewhere else you inevitably look at it in a different way. We inevitably carry across some of our baggage from London to other places. But at the same time, it would be disingenuous to suggest that it was all of London because at the same time, things outside of this country have unashamedly influenced us more than we have by things in this country. For example, aspects of the Wandsworth project feel like they were learning as much from looking at certain Swiss buildings as they were from any kind of English or London condition. In terms of projects such as the Urban Housing at Seven Sisters which is the main other London project we have completed, that probably felt most like Shepherdess Walk in terms of being like a house. It is obviously at a much larger scale taking after the idea of the villa, which 150 years ago, was pretending to be a big house, but actually housed more than just one family. Unless it was for an exceptional family, it was generally about housing more than one family unit. To mimic these conditions 150 years later to make housing is an interesting quality in itself. Here, as with Shepherdess Walk, it was also about type. 87


However, here it is a reaction against what we found in London. It was the coming together of the dissatisfaction of the exploration of the rainscreen façade that had began with the birth of the practice. The rainscreen façade was about the notion of the separation between cladding and structure. We began to feel as though this had its limitations as to where one could go with it as architects and also in terms of what one makes and how the building feels once it has been made. We have increasingly started to look for ways of exploring heaviness rather than lightness. The project sat next to this awful 1980s housing, also vaguely moulded around the idea of a villa although not very successfully. We tried to understand what we found so upsetting about this building and we realised that it was that fact that it suffered from the same thing that our projects were beginning to suffer from, which was this force of economy which was pushing things ever so tighter and closer so that the membrane between inside and outside became so minimal. The consequence of this is that buildings began to feel really insubstantial. We later found out the building we hated had been made in a similar way to the Shepherdess Walk project, a timber frame then clad in brick. These two things lead to us beginning to think about the exploration of massiveness and weight. These aspects were in a way born from a dissatisfaction of London, of the current situation not just in London but also in United Kingdom. Nana: Many of your projects utilise brick as a material. As Louis Khan once asked, “what does a brick want to be?” As a practice what do you think a brick wants to be and how do you express this in your work?

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Mark: I have to say we do not think of anything as esoteric as what a brick wants to be. What we want a brick to be changes; what we thought it wanted to be back when we worked on the Shepherdess Walk housing project is quite different to where we are now. When the Shepherdess Walk housing project was made, as mentioned earlier, through a prefabricated timber frame and then clad in brick, it was the last of the rainscreen building we made up to this point. Then, we were interested in how a brick could express itself as being just a skin over the building and not as weighty masonry construction. This came from the first housing project we worked on which was the suburban semi-detached house in Stevenage. There we looked at bricks that were just 15mm thick, applied onto a backing panel; it really was about how thin one could get a brick. The Shepherdess Walk housing project is different in a way because it utilises a whole brick. But then the question arises: how do you deliberately undermine the brick? The answer was a net of open perpends that although had a very practical function of allowing moisture to migrate through the breathing wall construction, could also find an expression on the façade. It also absorbed the banal details that resulted from that form of construction such as damp proof courses and cavity trays. The question became about how one absorbs all the consequences of that into something that felt more like an architectural idea rather than a consequence of construction. That is where we were then. What the brick wanted to be by the time we arrived at Seven Sisters was quite different and in fact it was where really addressed what the brick wanted to be but we just could not persuade the contractor to build it. The contractor for the Seven Sisters


project was very conservative, in fact it was the first concrete frame building they had ever made. It was a step enough to persuade them to do that, but what we wanted to do was use the brick as the expression of a solid wall. We had fully researched and detailed a wall that had no cavity at all therefore no construction of layers and was solid from its outside face to inside plaster face. This form of construction employed a very lightweight block on the inside and no cavity; the brick mortared straight up to the block work. In that instance, what did the brick want to be? The brick wanted to simply be the external expression of this monolithic element of this conglomerate construction. In a way, it is an aspect about construction that addressed the condition of the brick because it can be so many things. There is also something about place and context because London is so universally made of brick. Brick is so unbelievably tolerant that within the largely negotiated and medieval planning that it feels like London is made up of, it feels like something of this small module is very appropriate. It also seems to cope well with the dreadful English weather. We are building at the moment in Vienna where everything is made out of render which is obviously tolerant in different ways and seems to cope very well with the climate of the place. One tries to imagine London in the same way and it is somehow not possible. The third aspect of the brick that interests us, and perhaps this is a peculiarly English thing which relates to the point about context, although not physical context; there is something about brick which to most people seems to speak of home. This is something we explored at the beginning of the semi-detached housing project in Stevenage through the idea of brick as a skin. This theme has carried on through virtually all of our projects.

We have recently completed a competition project for what will be our biggest residential building if we win. Here, in a tower building, we are interested in brick as a material. We are interested in the fact that what one makes a building out of can express the qualities about place or an interest in an architectural idea in construction, but also, it brings about a visual response for the people that live there. People like things that are made of brick because that is what a house is made from. Nana: Several if not all of your housing projects in the UK have been realised in partnership with housing associations. How have you found the experience of working with housing associations? What are some of the challenges in working with them? Mark: It really depends, there are good ones and there are bad ones, progressive ones and conservative ones. On a whole, it is all we have ever known in terms of making housing. The period of councils building housing stopped in the late 1970s and it is just beginning to happen again. Every housing commission we have had as practice has been in conjunction with housing associations. It is a very difficult question to answer because there is nothing else to make a comparison against. What we do have an experience of is making housing that is not in this country. Of course then one gets into difficulties in trying to establish comparisons. What is being compared? Is one comparing cultures, organisations or funding streams? But what could be said is this that housing associations in the United Kingdom are incredibly codified and regulated. There is a plethora of documents that they have to adhere to in order to get the funding and therefore we have to adhere to in order to make sure that they get the necessary funding. It is a difficult element to describe because 90


obviously wherever one operates as an architect there are codes and regulations that need to be followed. However, in other countries, generally you find that codes and regulations are set up with rules that are about ambition and a strategic understanding of dealing with situations. Where as in the United Kingdom, the regulation process is about narrowing down, not opening up. For example, in the United Kingdom, one needs to demonstrate that a set of furniture which has absolutely no room for manoeuvre, if it is a double bedroom, must have a 1.5m x 2m bed with a 900mm space on one side and a 400mm space on the other, 100mm space below and a beside table which is 450mm x 450mm and a chest of drawers. You then have to demonstrate that every single piece of that furniture, nothing more and nothing less can fit into the bedroom in two different ways. Rather than a belief that one should demonstrate doubtability for the dwelling, which would be about opening up, which would be about being reasonable; it would be about trust that the architect is going to demonstrate what would be a good level of adaptability, which in a way means that what is good and adaptable this year, will be better in two years time. Instead, what is common practice in the United Kingdom is that there is a narrowing down process that means that this year is the same as last year and the year before until someone changes the rule. But with all that said, housing associations are good because they commission us to build work! Nana: In working extensively with housing, your projects often seemed to be charged with a social and political critique. How do you engage with the social and political aspects of the things you work with? 91

Mark: The question of social engagement is perhaps easier to answer. The engagement comes as a necessary part of the process of the project. For instance, at the Shepherdess Walk housing project, the people that were going to live there, the family with the daughter who had cerebral palsy, were a very important part of the project. Although they were not the clients, the client was the person paying for the building, in this case the housing association, they were very important to the project; in fact they were the only reason for the project. It was not about designing a home for them because in a way that is similar to designing a house for any client. It was about the relationship between the people who were going to live there and the landlord, the relationship between the landlord and the housing cooperative and ultimately the relationship between the tenants and their neighbours. All of these issues, fed into the project, however in a very straightforward way. In comparison, the housing project we completed in Tilbury in Essex, which although is outside London, could be still considered in relation to this London argument, engaged with a different kind of social aspect. Here, it was about social deprivation. The estate in Tilbury is incredibly deprived and has very high rates of unemployment. The project was all about making homes whilst training people in a skilled trade. Of course, that engaged with the social through the process of dialogue. It is much more difficult to address how the work of the practice engages with the political. In a way, we have consciously, although one could question if this has been good for the practice, tried to stay out of the political. Perhaps, if the practice had chosen to engage with this, we could have used the position that


we have got through making relatively critical pieces to engage with the political process in this country. But, for whatever reason, there is a distance between the political and ourselves that we have never really investigated. Of course, we are talking about politics with a small ‘p’ rather government; we are talking about perhaps RIBA housing community. We have enjoyed the consequence of it. We have enjoyed the idea that a building produces a reaction be it negative or positive; Kieran Long’s question “Does this building scare you?,” comes to mind. We would rather provoke that kind of reaction; to ask ourselves if that was the best we could do. Nana: I would like to talk about your project Time Register, as discussed in Papers. I find the continued exploration of your projects very interesting. The ‘use’ of a building is perhaps where the true ‘value’ of architecture is found. The value of architecture is not necessarily the building or the cost of construction. It is about what the people who use it get from it. What I would like to know is your view between this transition; where architecture stops and life begins, How do you successfully merge the two scenarios so that they do not become disparate concerns aimed at two different sets of people, the architect and the user respectively? How have you found this project and is it still something the practice is doing? I find the way in which a project is written about by a practice and the way it is then used by its inhabitants a very interesting set of circumstances. This is especially true for the Public House project in Walsall.

Mark: This can be very problematic actually because inevitably important things like money come into play! The problem is that you stop getting paid once the project is completed! We generally continue some kind of relationship with all our clients. It is harder when the client is a cooperate body. So for example, at the Shepherdess Walk housing project, although the user were people and they are still there, the owner of the building was New Islington and Hackney Housing Association, they became Family Mosaic; the project manager and whoever commissioned the project have long since been gone therefore it become very difficult to maintain any relationship with them. Without that relationship, it is quite hard to have a relationship with the uses that are taking place in the building. This is generally true for most of our housing projects unfortunately because once the building is completed, people move in and you generally do not have a relationship with them unless unfortunately it is through gripes and then the architect gets dragged back in. But generally that is not the case, I am happy to say. Therefore, it would be a very curious thing to perhaps ring the tenant and asking if you could come and see how things are going for them. Although having said that, the tenants at 85c Shepherdess Walk (who are no longer there) did get back in touch with the practice, as they wanted to have something on top of roof but had been refused planning. In many of our other buildings, the public ones, we have tended to keep a relationship because in that situation the client also tends to be the owner and then it is much easier to maintain that relationship. For example, we still have a relationship with the people at the Ruthin 92


Craft Centre in Wales; we still go to see events that they hold. Recently, they held a symposium on the relationship between crafts and architecture and they invited Jonathan to speak at that event. At Studio House in Bethnal Green, although the owners have now sold the building, we did maintain an incredibly close relationship with them and we would often go back and see how the house had developed. We very much enjoyed that idea of going back; it is partly about seeing how the building changes which is mostly what time register was about. But one enjoys your comment that it is as much about that as it is about how occupation changes and what that relationship between the building and occupation becomes. It has to be said that, the time register project is something the practice would love to repeat and do with all our projects but finance is difficult. Who knows, maybe Papers 3 will revisit it! Nana: Your housing projects are developed speculatively by housing associations. This is partially true at Shepherdess Walk; the ground floor apartment had a very specific occupant therefore the notion of ‘home’ could be established around their needs. This is not the case for the apartments above. How do you ensure that the spaces you created there could carry the same notion of ‘home’ when the end occupant is unknown? Mark: This relates back to earlier discussion; for us it is about understanding what it is that makes a place feel like home and of course it is about atmosphere. One of the things that creates such an atmosphere is material. It is also about this issue of threshold, withdrawing from the public realm into the private realm. It is something about flexibility of the layout, 93

not flexibility in the kind of universal idea of ‘let’s make a great, big, white box,’ but flexibility in terms of imagining uses. This is in essence is about our own everyday experience. The great thing about making housing is that everyone lives somewhere therefore one can empathise with the work they are producing. You start by thinking about your own experiences of living and the kinds of things that you value. Then, one can start to imagine how some of those characteristics can be built into in what one is making. It is about having a set of ideas that is about the essence of home. Nana: I want to discuss the notions of adaptability and flexibility, as they seem to be key issues in the realm of housing. How would you differentiate between the two? By flexibility, one speaks of the modernist idea of sliding walls and open plan living which often neglects the fact that the people using those spaces are different and unique individuals. I am interested in the practice’s admiration of 16th century English houses such as Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire. Their interconnected room and spaces are very interesting because they speak the language of being interchangeable without the need for tricks such as sliding walls and doors. What I would like to establish is the difference between what is flexibility and what is adaptability. Mark: This is something the practice discussed a lot, both amongst ourselves and in a way in an almost propagandist way because it is something that we believe in. We have only ever, I am proud to say, only made one sliding door in the practice’s existence so it is not something we generally engage with for exactly the reasons you give because there is a general perception that the idea to open everything up is always a good thing.


This is partly pedalled by the numerous interior design shows one find on television. The first thing that the makeover designer does is say, ‘we need to get rid of this wall; we need to open up the space.’ Sometimes this is right because the spaces need to be bigger. But, particular in dealing with housing and not individual houses, it is not a question of making it bigger because there is a person above, below and to the side of you so that is not an available option. Therefore, the idea of flexibility becomes morphed into this idea of, ‘well we cannot make it any bigger so we will make it so that can the walls can come down.’ At the Semi-detached housing project we completed in Stevenage, we almost fell into that trap because it was made as a prefabricated timber structure and the inside was also prefabricated. The original idea was to make a rigid box and then design the interior walls to be no structural, then in twenty years time, it would be easier for someone to move them. But we are very glad to say that in the end this was not a viable solution and the walls had to be made to be structural because otherwise it was completely inefficient, everything would have been 50% bigger than it needed to be because it had to span that much further. And thank goodness, because as if in a social housing setting, where someone is renting their house, anyone is actually going to take a wall down to make their living somehow more flexible; they are never going to do it! Once again, this was a reaction against whatever one calls it, adaptable or flexible. In relating this back to our work, in the recent competition for a tower building, there has been very interesting discussionsthe development of plan. There was some idea of an entrance, bedroom and living space. But there was question about how useful

(let us part from adaptable and flexible) is that space as a living room? In the end, what was actually developed was an idea for a living space that was actually a different shape where the corner is an outside space. The square metre of that area was the same in both cases but through the geometric shifts that were made to the plan, the space was better described. One could say, actually the kitchen goes here and this has a sense of separation from this; you can look over there from the balcony between the two spaces, generating a sense of expansiveness. Then one could begin to articulate these spaces by saying this is a place where someone could be doing their homework while here someone is reading and here someone is cooking rather than saying, ‘well it is flexible because it is a great big rectangle so anything can happen there.’ In actual fact, only one thing can happen. This is a topic fascinates the practice and increasingly one finds that the plan is where the opportunities for developing these ideas of the useful lies. Nana: As a practice, you often speak about working with tolerances; tolerance as - An acknowledgement of found conditions - An approach to construction - As offering tangible solutions for connecting spaces. Do you think working with tolerances can be extended to apply to the idea of working with an existing cultural memory? For example, how tolerant would it be to translate the ideals of the suburban semi-detached house into mass housing? Recently, I have been grappling with the question of why we do not build more semi-detached or detached suburban houses if that is what people like? In response to that, through research, one arrives at the answer that perhaps it is not 94


the building that people are attached to but rather the conditions, which this type offers. In some ways, we are aware as a society that we need to be producing denser housing but how does one take those favourable condition found in the semi-detached house and employ them in apartment style living so that families will actually want to live in those apartments so that they are not left empty and flogged to the student population? Mark: If I knew the answer to that, I would be doing very well! Another thing that we have expressed interest in and we are down to the last two candidates, is to make a housing design guide for the Borough of Hackney. This ties into the previous discussion about there being a hiatus of the council making homes. They are now beginning to re-engage with this idea of making homes. This housing design guide is not about us making homes; it is about affecting how other people make homes in that borough. But the ambition in the design guide is going to be to answer the kinds of question you have just outlined; how can you make homes for families (this aspect is very important; it is only about families as it is only for families that this design guide is being written) in Hackney, which by definition is high density, hyper urban area; how do you make homes in a way that makes people want to stay there. I suppose by influence, make them in a way that offers some of the qualities that you talk about. It is a very difficult thing to do because the main thing that the suburban offers is space and that is the one thing one cannot replicate in a dense situation. However, they also offer something to the relationship to the outside environment that one could probably try harder to incorporate into an urban condition. That is one of the things that the practice has put forward as an issue we wish to explore in this design 95

guide. In fact, many of the things that have been discussed are things we have proposed to explore with this Borough of Hackney design guide. It is not just about the size of the balcony; it is about more than that. It is about what sort of outside space it is. It is about what is its aspect; what is its relationship to the ground or to the dwelling? However, if we are honest, we do not yet know the answers to any of those things! Nana: In relation to tolerance, I would also like to discuss how you make housing for a growingly diverse society. London, generally the United Kingdom, is a much more diverse place and not everyone conforms to the AngloEuropean styles of living. In the essay, Feeling at Home, included in Papers 2, a housing project by Alvaro Siza in The Hague, Netherlands, for the Turkish immigrant community is described. The potent description of the image of a Turkish family settled around their cooking pot and camping stove on the floor, in an area normally used as the entrance hall of the apartment, raises questions about how to include other cultures rather than imposing a way of living onto them. Mark: In the end, one has to recognize that there is only a certain amount the architect can do. For us as a practice, things we are in control of that feel that they could proactively engage with that condition, are many of the things we have previously discussed. The use of rooms, I believe, is a way of engaging with that aspect on cultures. In a way, it would be a madness to suggest that one could design something that overtly accommodated everyone. All one can do, is design in a way that offers choice to how people might occupy the space and hope that the choices provided are


enough for the occupant. The reference you made earlier about the 16th century house being a collection of rooms, is particularly relevant in family housing as it pertains to that theme. Because of the scale of the dwelling, it offers more opportunity for exploring this idea of interconnectedness. In interconnectedness, there is an opportunity for disconnectedness, which is an interesting idea.

Nana: I want to discuss the notion of ordinariness and everyday, which I think is an idea that most of your projects engage with. Most of your projects exist within sites that could be considered “modest, slack or peripheral.” Your projects seem to engage with these qualities of the site, stitching together its different layers and attributes. Is this essential in your view in creating an architecture that registers with the everyday?

A project that the practice completed called Accommodating Diversity, also appears in the essay, Feeling at Home, which was a Circle 33 Bow competition. There, the idea was very much about developing a plan that was based around the idea of interconnectedness and rooms. We looked to try and find new ways of getting around things like the Building Regulations, which tend to close down opportunities rather than opening them up. If you compare the regulations here to a country such as perhaps Switzerland, the situation in the United Kingdom is incredibly limiting yet I am not aware that Switzerland has a higher rate of deaths per year due to fire! As a result, there was an exploration of looking at the regulations in a different way to mean that actually what one was making was an idea of a collection of rooms. Connected to that, is idea of the importance of the hall which again is something that is particularly evident in the Siza project in The Hague. The hall is not a corridor, it is a room; it is a slightly smaller room to perhaps where the sofa is but it is a bigger room than perhaps where the toilet is. It has doors leading from it; it has not got sliding doors! It is a space that can be closed off and it is a space that offers two ways of circulation in the dwelling.

Mark: That is an interesting question. The everyday is fascinating, of course. I can take from your question that you have a position. It is not always appropriate, the everyday, for every condition. We are currently working on a project in China, which is a Corporate headquarters building. Here, there is a requirement inherently in the question they are asking us for a level of status about that building and the notion of the everyday would not be appropriate within that scenario. The whole point of the building is to not express everydayness; it is to express specialness, a kind of status. One supposes that hidden behind your question is that if we were asked to make an ambassador’s residence in Chelsea, which has a level of residency to it, would it be about the everyday or would it about making something not about the everyday but rather making something about status? One has to say, the answer would be that this situation is not about the everyday; it is not about background. Patrick Hodgkinson, who designed the Brunswick Centre, taught at the University of Bath where he always talked about the city being made up of meat and potatoes; that when you have a plate for dinner, you do not have a plate made up of three quarters meat and one quarter potatoes, you have a bit of meat and you 96


have lots of other things. His point was that one needs a lot of background where the program requires it to be background and then when the program requires something that is special, it needs to be special. What he would get frustrated by were people who were making housing and trying to make it special in a kind of exuberant and exotic way because it was an opportunity for them rather than realising that actually, it was about making a piece of the city. Where the practice has made housing projects, it has felt so appropriate to make them an interpretation of the everyday. When one makes something that is not in the space you have described, slack, on the edge or in between spaces, but actually one is making something in a centrepiece place, then it feels as though the requirement would be quite different. For instance, if one was to make something in Bedford Square, which is both extraordinary but at the same time part of the city fabric. It is a unique place that occupies the two worlds at the same time and by making something that was part of that everyday scenario would actually be quite special. Nana: Martin Steinmann in writing, An architecture that engages with reality, on the occasion of the practice being awarded the Tessenow Medal, makes a very compelling statement about ordinariness, an issue that you engage with extensively in your work. He suggests “the ordinary in itself is sometimes a construction, an idea which consists of several images, based upon our experience.” What I would like to ask is that if we accept this notion of ordinariness and the everyday being subjective, how do you personally define ordinariness and how is this then interpreted in your work?

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Mark: It makes an interesting point in relation to something the Smithsons said about the ‘As Found’ being about, “the picking up, the turning over and the putting with.” It reinforces your point; in the end, one chooses what they want to pick up, turn over and put back. It is incredibly subjective and that is absolutely fine because in the end we are all architects who are trying to make work that is personal to us. Although as a practice, we see our works as being very different, other people tell us that you can spot them a mile off! Therefore, there must be a filter set of spectacles that one puts on when we look at those things. Certainly, some things intrigue us and certain things do not. You can imagine the kinds of things that do intrigue us from the things we have discussed here as well as in the projects that we have made. It would be terrible if one pretended it was not anything other that what Martin Steinmann correctly identifies. The notion of ordinariness and the everyday is constructed. It is as subjective as Zaha Hadid; there is no more or less validity; it is about preference. It is important that one recognizes this factor. Obviously, there is actually quite a fine line between the everyday and banal. One does not want to make banal architecture and so the danger of thinking that it is not actually conscious and subjective is that one can veer towards the banal. There is also another aspect of everydayness and banality, which is ugliness. People have said that our buildings are ugly. That in itself addresses the question asked. On the occasion of an RIBA lecture that Stephen and Jonathan gave, one of our clients actually asked Steven, “what do you say to people who call your buildings ugly?” He might have even said, “many people think they are,” and he commissions the practice! In fact he has just commissioned


the practice again. That raises a very interesting question which is what do we consider ugly? Because, if you say the opposite of ugly is beautiful, then what does it mean to make beautiful buildings? Beautiful means conventional, acceptable and to a degree perhaps even safe. So if as a practice we are trying to do the opposite of those things, then is it creating bad ambition? It is a way of turning things on its head and questioning the assumption that ugly is negative. Nana: The last topic I would like to discuss is the relationship between the written work and built work made by the practice. They are not disparate concerns and are actually strongly related to one another. It seems words and construction, share a similar value within your work; they are essentially the building blocks for your projects, whether written or built. Like architects such as Gottfried Semper, who were very interested in etymology, your written work expresses very consciously your built work. How important do you think writing is to architectural practice? Mark: One could say two main things about the writing. The first is that all three of us, prior to that both Stephen and Jonathan, teach. In order to teach, in the sense that one is a professor, involves setting up a thesis for the chair. In order to have that thesis, it cannot be in your head, it has to be on paper in order to impart that to both your students and assistants. Jonathan Hendry and I in our studio have taken on the same idea; so do teachers at Kingston University and London Metropolitan University and other important schools. Therefore, it is not just about writing a brief, it is also about constructing a thesis that can then be debated in studio. That is one thing that generates the writing.

The other situation that the writing is born out of is that the practice, was two and now is three partners and not a sole partnership. There are a number of things that facilitate that situation; one is the idea of reference. In a sole partnership, one imagines, that you are talking to all your collaborators but at the same time, they are all looking to you for answers. Inevitably, you must internalize a lot of thoughts. However, when you are one of two or three, you cannot do this because then how does one explain their ideas to the other person. Therefore, references start to become very important. It can also be suggested that the writing has been influential for that kind of communication to happen. There is no room for approximation in writing. This was born out of a similar point in time, where Jonathan and Stephen along with Tony Fretton, Adam Caruso, Jonathan Woolf, David Adjaye and others were all starting out as architects the worst time, not unlike now in terms of recession, where no one had any work but they still wanted to develop ideas. So how does you develop ideas if you have no work? Well, they can develop through writing and then communicating to the other people in the group. Of course it was learning from the Smithsons and their work in which writing was incredibly important. This, (Papers on Architecture), definitely sowed the seeds for that idea of the importance of writing and sharing of ideas with architectural practice. Nana: Thank you very much for your time.

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Appendix 2 Interview with Residents of 85c Shepherdess Walk Pia & Raffaele

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Nana Biamah-Ofosu: How long have you lived here? Raffaele & Pia: We have lived here for two years. Nana: Describe your previous accommodation. Pia: We lived in a small studio flat in Milan. Nana: To what extent do you think the nature of the space affected your lifestyle? Raffaele: The space certainly did influence the way we lived; it was smaller and everything was in one place. When we moved to England, we were actually looking for something similar because we thought we liked that living arrangement. However, we found this (85 Shepherdess Walk) and we liked this better. Nana: You mentioned your accommodation in Milan was quite small. What was it like to transition from a space like that to one like this? Where there any aspects that were unfamiliar or which seemed uncomfortable? Pia: Uncomfortable, certainly not. We enjoyed having more living space and better storage. It was a welcomed change to be able to close a door! The difference between private and public spaces was also something new which we enjoyed. It is nice to be able to offer our guests some privacy. Nana: What do you think of the neighbourhood?

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Raffaele: It is a very nice area. It is very close to Islington, Upper Street and Angel but it is also close to the East End, Old Street, Curtain Road and the Great Eastern Road. Pia: The street (Shepherdess Walk) possesses a strong sense of community. It is a very calm neighbourhood despite its proximity to busy Upper Street. Nana: The street seems to be a meeting point between the nearby busy and commercial street and the calmer residential area. Raffaele & Pia: This is absolutely right. It is a popular route for commuters to and from work. There are lots of bicycles and runners; those who run home from work! Nana: Are local amenities accessible? Raffaele: Everything is within ten minutes walking distance from us. There is a generous mix of small corner shops and larger supermarkets. Nana: Since moving in, how do you feel you have made this space your own? Raffaele: By filling it with lots of stuff! Pia: It is a very nice space; you can move things around. The space offers you the freedom to move, arrange and adjust things. It is easy to create your own living space. Raffaele: The neutrality of the space makes it easy for you to give it a personal touch and a sense of your own identity. Nana: You made a point about the neutrality of the space. Do you think this was an important factor in being able to make the space your own? Did you find any aspects of the architecture imposing?


Raffaele: Neutrality within a space like this (domestic) is good. There are some houses which have an almost dominating character namely through stylistic features or historic character. That too has its own beauty which can be appreciated but it is harder to assert your own identity on such a space.

Raffaele: There is nothing that needs fixing or changing.

Pia: This flat leaves you very free. It offers you the freedom in which to live and dwell. There is space that is your space and you do with that space what you wish. While looking for a place to live, we visited some flats that felt like military bases. Their characters were very prescribed, to the extent that there was no room for negotiation or oneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s own identity. It was either, take it or leave it.

Raffaele: Warm and light.

Nana: What is your favourite space in your home?

Nana: How would you describe the quality of spaces and the atmosphere in your home? Pia: Homely.

Pia: It is also very airy, perhaps by virtue of not being an enormous space and the fact that it is well ventilated with all its windows, which also allow good levels of daylight. Nana: Do you feel the architecture contributes to the aspects you have just described? Pia: Yes, definitely.

Pia: The living room; perhaps because it is the space we use most.

Nana: Do you feel comfortable within the space?

Raffaele: For me, I would say the bedroom.

Pia: Yes, It is nice and cosy. In the winter, it is very warm. On my regular walks, I see houses that have problems with drafty windows. Also, in comparison to the other, much older houses on the street, it is not damp. The other houses have huge problems with condensation.

Nana: What is the least satisfying aspect about your home? Pia: The separation of hot and cold water taps! We are just not used to that! Nana: Have you made any chances since moving in?

Nana: Do you feel the architecture reflects the essence of making a space a home?

Pia: No, not to the substance of the building.

Raffaele: Yes, it worked out. It feels very well considered.

Nana: Do you feel you will like to make any chances in the future?

Nana: What is the flat like to generally maintain and keep; in terms of services and such matters?

Pia: We are only tenants so we are not in the position to make any changes. But even if we could, I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think there is anything I would want to change.

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Raffaele: It is quite easy to heat the flat up because it seems to be very well insulated. Although it is exposed on three of sides, the double glazed windows help insulate the interior and make it very easy to keep warm. In the summer, you can open the windows if you want to keep cool. The house is able to open up in the summer and easy to close up in the winter. In the summer, the nearby park helps facilitate that feeling of summertime. Nana: Do you feel the living spaces can adapt to different ways of living? Do you have any particular cultural tendencies that the house accommodates or doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t accommodate? Pia: No, not particularly. However, I can imagine it being a difficult space to live in if you were not a couple. For instance, you could not have a flat-share situation; the second bedroom is not big enough to accommodate such living arrangements. Raffaele: It is perfect for a couple or perhaps a couple with a small child. Nana: Do you think the house could grow with you? Could it be home to a growing family with children? Raffaele: Perhaps not for a large family but for a small family, a small child and ourselves, it would certainly still be home. Nana: How long do you think you will live here? Pia: We love it here and we do not want to move so I think we are going to be here for a while. Nana: Thank you very much for your time.

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Amery, Colin, ‘Macdonald and Salter 1982-1986’, in AA Files, 14 (Spring 1987), p70-75 Allford, Simon et al, 7000 words on Housing, (London: RIBA, 2002) Architectural Association, Architecture is not made with the Brain, (London: Architectural Association, 2005) Appendix 1 Mark Tuff, Shepherdess Walk Housing Project, Interviewed by: Nana Biamah-Ofosu, 28 September 2012

Bates, Stephen, Sergison, Jonathan, Sergison Bates Architects: Brick-work: Thinking and Making, (Zurich: GTA, 2005) Bates, Stephen, Sergison, Jonathan, ‘Urban Housing, Bow, London’, in A+T, 17, (2001) p.92-95 Bates, Stephen, Sergison, Jonathan, ‘Working with Tolerance, in ARQ: architectural research quarterly, 3, (3), (1999), p.220-233

Appendix 2 Raffaele, Pia, Interview with Residents at 85c Shepherdess Walk, Interviewed by: Nana Biamah-Ofosu, 3 August 2012

Bergson, Henri, Matter and Memory, (London: MIT Press, 1988)

Bates, Stephen, Sergison, Jonathan, ‘An Architecture of Tolerance’, A+T, 13, (1999) p.51-113

Bryne, Andrew, London’s Georgian Houses, (London: Georgian Press, 1986)

Bates, Stephen, Sergison, Jonathan, ‘Memoria II / Memory’, A+T, 17, (1999) p.35-41

Bullivant, Lucy, ‘Practice Profile’ Architectural Design, in 74, (2), (March/ April 2004), p.110-117

Bates, Stephen, Sergison, Jonathan, Feeling at Home, (London: Sergison Bates, 2012) Bates, Stephen, Sergison, Jonathan, ‘Memoria/Memory II’, in A+T, 17, (2001) p.34-41 Bates, Stephen, Sergison, Jonathan, Papers, (London: Sergison Bates architects, 2001) 119

Bates, Stephen, Sergison, Jonathan, Papers 2, (London: Sergison Bates architects, 2007)

Bracewell, Michael et al, Tom Hunter, (Ostfildern-Ruit: Hatje Cantz, 2003)

Buxton,Pamela, ‘Inspiration: Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire,’ Building Design,1951, (4 February 2011) p. 14-17 Café, Rebecca, ‘Mayoral election: London’s housing crisis’, (2012) < http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/ukengland-london-17776106> [accessed 25 September 2012]


Caruso, Adam, The Feeling of Things, (Hove: Roundhouse Distributor, 2009)

Heathcote, Edwin, ‘Austerity, clarity, bricks and beauty’, Financial Times, 29 May 2006

Chevailer, Tracy, Wiggins, Colin, Tom Hunter: Living in Hell and other stories, (London: National Gallery)

Heathcote, Edwin, ‘ The Battle to build real value’, Financial Times, 28 April 2006

Chipperfield, David, Sergison Bates, 2G, 34, (2), (Barcelona: Gustavo Gili, 2005), p. 134135 Dawson, Layla, ‘Heinrich Tessenow 1876 - 1950’ Architectural Review, (1113), July 1991), Department for Communities and Local Government, Homes for the future: more affordable, more sustainable, (London: Communities and Local Government, 2007) De Botton, Alain, The Architecture of Happiness, (London: Hamish Hamilton, 2006) Eliot, TS, ‘Tradition and the Individual Talent’, in Perspecta, 19, (1982), <http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=00790958%281982%2919%3C36%3ATATIT% 3E2.0.CO%3B2-1> [accessed 4 October 2012] Greeves, Emily, Woodman, Ellis, Home/Away: Five British Architects Build Housing in Europe: The Development of Housing in Britain 1870-2008, (London: British Council, 2008) Gregory, Rob ‘RIBA Gold Medal winner David Chipperfield on style wars on the English condition’, Architectural Review, 229, 1369, (March 2011)

Heidegger, Matin, ‘Building, Thinking, Dwelling’ in Poetry, Language, Thought, (New York: Harper Colophon Books, 1971), < http://faculty.arch.utah.edu/ miller/4270heidegger.pdf>, [accessed: 28 July 2012] Jay Merrick, ‘The New Materialists’, Independent on Sunday, 19 February 2006 Kennedy, James, ‘What housing policy?’ Architecture Today, 37, April 1993 Krucker, Bruno et al, ‘Special Issue. Sergison Bates’, Werk, Bauen & Wohnen, 92/59, 5, (May 2005) Littefield, David, ‘When small is flexibe’ Building Design, 1510, (16 November 2001), p.26 Long, Kieran, ‘Out of the box’ Building Design, 1515 (11 January 2002) p. 12-14 Lynch, Patrick, ‘Prose beats bad poetry’ Building Design, (5 October 2001) p.32

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Macdonald, Chris, Macdonald and Salter: Building Projects 1982-1986, London: Architectural Association, 1987)

Richardson, Vicky, New Vernacular Architecture, (London: Watson-Guptill Publications, Nov 2001)

Mark Tuff, Shepherdess Walk Housing Project, (Appendix 1), Interviewed by: Nana Biamah-Ofosu, 28 September 2012

Risselada, Max, Alison& Peter Smithson: A Critical Anthology, (Barcelona: Poligrafa, 2011)

Mead, Andrew et al, ‘Contemporary Terraced Housing Types’ Architect’s Journal, 226, 14, (19 October 2007) Mead, Andrew, ‘A Smithson house Evolves over Decades’ Architectural Record, 192, (4) (April 2004), p.102-106 Noseda, Irma, ‘Wohnen, Wohnen, Housing’, Werk, Bauen & Wohnen 88/55, (6), (June 2001), p.6-74 Parker, Richard, Funding affordable housing-New options for housing associations, (London: PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2008) Periton, Diana, ‘Exhibition Review: Alison and Peter Smithson From the House of the Future to a House of Today, Home Cultures, 1, (3), p.307-314

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Rosbottom, Daniel, ‘Culture: Deconstructing Construction’ Building Design, (19 May 2006) p.21 Rosbottom, Daniel, ‘Eyes that feel and Hands that see’ in Thinking Practice, Reflections on Architectural Research and Building Work, (London: Black Dog Publishing, 2005) < http://www.drdharchitects.co.uk/ pdf/transcripts/10/204_f03_drdh_ eyesthatfeelhandsthatsee.pdf> [accessed: 28 July 2012] Rosbottom, Daniel, ‘I think therefore I am’ Architect’s Journal, 227, (1), (10 January 2008) p.46-47 Stewart, Bruce, ‘Adelaide Court,’ Architectural Design, 76 (5), (September/October 2003), p.130-133 Smit, Josephine, ‘Premium Bond’ Building Homes, 3 (Mar 2001), p.26-30

Raith, Frank-Bertolt, ‘Special issue. The everyday,’ Daidalos, 75, (May 2000) p. 4-103

Smit, Josephine, ‘Seminal Stevenage’ Building Homes, 2 (Feb 2000), p.28-34

Reijendorp, Arnold, ‘What is it that makes Vinex people tick?’ Archis, 1, (2001)

Smithson, Alison, Smithson Peter, Changing the Art of Inhabitation, (London: Artemis, 1994) ss, 2003)


St John Wilson, Colin, ‘Brick’ Scroope, Cambridge Architectural Journal’, 6, (1994/1995), p.12-13 Steinmann, Martin, An Architecture that engages with reality, (9 November 2006), < http://sergisonbates.co.uk/Content/ pdfs/4%20Papers%20about%20SBa/ Martin%20Steinmann%20text_rev2.pdf>, [accessed: 24 May 2012] Stungo, Noami, ‘Rough Diamond’ in RIBA Journal, 110, (6), (June 2003) p.40-46 Summerson, John, Georgian London, (London: Yale University Press, 2003) Taylor, Stephen, ‘Sergison Bates, ‘Distortion and Mediation’ Architect’s Journal, 221, 22, (9 June 2005) Urspung, Phillip, ‘Built Images: Performing the City’, in Images: A Picture Book of Architecture, (Munich, New York: Prestel, 2004) p.4 -11 Van der Heijden, Hans, ‘Presence and memory’, Architecture Today, 105, (Feb 2000) p. 26-35 Votolato, Gregory, Making Buildings, (London: Crafts Council, 2000), p.25 Woods, Brendan, ‘Ambiguity and Authenticity’ Architeture Today, 118, (April 2004) p.22-33

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Image Credits

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A Photographic study of housing in South East England All Images: Author’s own image

Figure 9 Smithson, Peter, Smithson, Alison, The Charged Void, (New York : Monacelli Press, 2001) p. 122

Figure 1 Author’s own image

Figure 10 Author’s own image

Created using data from Bates, Stephen, Sergison, Jonathan, Feeling at Home, (London: Sergison Bates, 2012)

Figure 11 Author’s own image

Figure 2 Author’s own image Figure 3 Greeves, Emily, Woodman, Ellis, Home/Away: Five British Architects Build Housing in Europe: The Development of Housing in Britain 1870-2008, (London: British Council, 2008) Figure 4 Author’s own image Figure 5 http://www.maccreanorlavington.com/ website/en/project_187.html Figure 6 Stills from Jeanne Dielmann, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles Chantal Akermann, 1975 http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=SjXcPMzkJ7c Figure 7 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/henderson-chisenhale-road-p79313 Figure 8 http://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/ portraitLarge/mw85517/Four-artists-included-in-the-exhibition-This-is-Tomorrow

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Figure 12 Author’s own image Figure 13 Bates, Stephen, Sergison, Jonathan, Papers, (London: Sergison Bates architects, 2001) p. 33 Figure 14 Bates, Stephen, Sergison, Jonathan, Papers, (London: Sergison Bates architects, 2001) p. 33 Figure 15 Author’s own image Figure 16 Author’s own image Figure 17 Author’s own image Figure 18 Author’s own image Fiigure 19 Smithson, Peter, Smithson, Alison, The Charged Void, (New York : Monacelli Press, 2001) p. 152 Figure 20 Smithson, Peter, Smithson, Alison, The Charged Void, (New York : Monacelli Press, 2001) p. 153


Figure 21 Smithson, Peter, Smithson, Alison, The Charged Void, (New York : Monacelli Press, 2001) p. 153 Figure 22 Author’s own image Figure 23 Author’s own image Figure 24 Author’s own image Figure 25 Copyright of Ioana Marinescu Courtesy of Sergison Bates Architects Figure 26 Copyright of Ioana Marinescu Courtesy of Sergison Bates Architects Figure 27 Copyright of Ioana Marinescu Courtesy of Sergison Bates Architects Figure 28 Copyright of Ioana Marinescu Courtesy of Sergison Bates Architects Figure 29 Author’s own image Figure 30 Author’s own image Figure 31 Author’s own image Figure 32 Tom Hunter http://www.tomhunter.org/holly-streetresidents-series/ Figure 33 Author’s own image

Figure 34 Author’s own image Figure 35 Author’s own image Figure 36 Bates, Stephen, Sergison Jonathan, ‘Inspiration: Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire,” in Building Design Online. < http://www. sergisonbates.co.uk/Content/pdfs/1%20 News/BD%20Hardwick%20Hall_040211. pdf> [accessed: 01 January 2013] Figure 37 Bates, Stephen, Sergison Jonathan, ‘Inspiration: Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire,” in Building Design Online. < http://www. sergisonbates.co.uk/Content/pdfs/1%20 News/BD%20Hardwick%20Hall_040211. pdf> [accessed: 01 January 2013] Figure 38 Author’s own image Figure 39 http://www.sergisonbates.co.uk/Content/ pdfs/2%20Catalogue%20projects/30%20 Mixed%20use%20development,%20 Wandsworth%20L.pdf Figure 40 http://www.sergisonbates.co.uk/Content/ pdfs/2%20Catalogue%20projects/30%20 Mixed%20use%20development,%20 Wandsworth%20L.pdf Figure 41 http://www.sergisonbates.co.uk/Content/ pdfs/2%20Catalogue%20projects/30%20 Mixed%20use%20development,%20 Wandsworth%20L.pdf Drawings: All drawings are produced by the author

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Acknowledgements With Special Thanks To: David Knight Marina Aldrovandi Mark Tuff Pia and Raffaele

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85 Shepherdess Walk - A proposition for urban housing  

3rd Year Undergraduate Dissertation