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EXPERIMENTAL L A I T N E D I RES

How could short-term, shared living be introduced into UK city centres?


EXPERIMENTAL

Published in 2015 by Antenna Press, Sheffield, UK Written by Jonathan Orlek, Mark Parsons, Cristina Cerulli at Studio Polpo Designed and realised by Studio Polpo Printed by The Newspaper Club, Glasgow Š2015 Studio Polpo and Antenna Press Diagrams, maps and posters on page 8, 9,16,17, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 28, 30, 31, 32, 33, 37, 38, 41, 44, by Studio Polpo Images by Studio Polpo, unless otherwise stated This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercialNoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

ISBN 978-1-908441-05-8

A Antenna Press is an independent publisher that promotes transformative practice in collaboration with Studio Polpo

RESIDENTIAL


How could short-term, shared living be introduced into UK city centres?

Jonathan Orlek, Mark Parsons, Cristina Cerulli / Studio Polpo

2015 V1


contents

Introduction (p7.) Research Aims Who is this Newspaper For? Sheffield Context Methodology Shared Living (p11.) What is Shared Living? Expanding Shared Living OPERA Case Study Self-Provided Reuse (p12.) Self-Provided Housing Sheffield City Council’s Vanguard Status Short Life Co-operatives Co-operative Management Structures (p15.) Housing Co-operatives Co-operatively Managed but not Owned SSHC Case Study Structure Diagrams Housing Precarity (p18.) Pop-up Living Avoiding Exploitation Working with more profitable Ventures Gängeviertel Hamburg Case Study Pull Out Posters! (p20.) Turning an Empty Building into a Shared House (A DIY Guide) (p27) Living in an Empty Non-Residential Building Reducing Risk Legal and Regulator Requirements for Residential Use Planning Permission and Use Class Building Regulations Rates and Council Tax Covenants Permitted Development Required Drawings Common Rooms Research Study (p30.) Common Rooms Project The Building: 121 Eyre Street Timelines In Conversation (p34.) Processes for Living in a Non-Residential Building Contributions that Re-Using Existing Buildings can Make Future Actions and Propositions Exploring Low Cost Environmental Upgrade Options (p36.) Developing a Secondary Glazing System Prototyping Installation Factors The Two Secondary Glazing Systems Summary (p40.) Experimental Residential as an Alternative Bibliography (p42.)


Image by Jacques Hoepffner (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Metavilla by EXYZT. A temporary experiment in shared living for the 2006 Venice Biennale.

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Experimental Residential . 2015 . Research by Studio Polpo . Commissioned by Common People


introduction Experimental Residential is a research project by Studio Polpo.1 It fits within a wider strand of housing research undertaken by the practice, which includes working with the Shirle Hill cohousing group to design five new custom houses and initiating a programme of performances OPERA2 - to introduce residential activities into empty buildings. Members of Studio Polpo are also involved in academic research around the collective production of the built environment, including collective custom build, co-operatives, self build and co-housing.

Research Aims Experimental Residential explores how shortterm collective living can be introduced into unused buildings and it builds directly upon two well explored areas within architectural research: shared living and short-term reuse of empty space.3 Brought together, these two concerns open up new possibilities for exploration: collective housing becomes a practical reality for a much broader variety of groups and options that are not retail dependent emerge for activating cities. Recent studies into collective housing have a tendency to focus on new developer led, large

scale and high density examples.4 It is hoped that a shift towards the reuse of existing buildings will bring the Experimental Residential research closer to practice and avoid perpetuating the ‘gulf between the ideas being put forward and the actual production of new conditions for housing.’5 Experimental Residential aims to act as a guide and toolkit for groups interested in working with planners, regulators and agents to make use of buildings that would otherwise be left empty, awaiting development. Attention is given to ensure that the tools and processes required to apply and replicate this work are articulated. The research is presented visually and accessibly to encourage and enable collective and self-organised action.

Who is this Newspaper For? This newspaper has been prepared to assist groups interested in setting up short term housing with an emphasis on shared activities. It is useful for existing groups looking to take on a building, or for individuals interested in initiating collective housing. This work can also be used by property owners exploring short-term tenancy options, or to begin a conversation about temporary and residential planning policy. Shared living and establishing a shared house may be of interest to a broad range of individuals and groups. Groups of residents may form through existing friendships, common creative projects, or shared political/ethical objectives, for example. In some cases the drive to create alternative housing

1  Studio Polpo is an architecture practice and social enterprise working primarily with third sector groups. Studio Polpo’s work takes a variety of forms, from artistic commissions and performances to architectural feasibility studies and the design of buildings. 2  Open Public Experimental Residential Activity. See experimentalresidential.wordpress.com for more information

4  See for example: Antonio Giménez and Conchi Monzonis, Collective Housing, (Valencia : Editorial Pencil, 2007), Arc en rêve centre d’architecture, New Forms of Collective Housing in Europe, (Basel : Birkhäuser, 2009) and Sam Brown, et al., Motivating Collective Custom Build Report, (Sheffield : University of Sheffield, 2013)

3  A bibliography covering these research areas is included on p42

5  Arc en rêve centre d’architecture, New Forms of Collective Housing in Europe, (Basel : Birkhäuser, 2009) p35

is in itself a core and consolidating idea through which groups are established.6 The growth of local and national networks for collective housing has encouraged communication between individuals interested in shared living.7 These have successfully facilitated the formation of new resident groups and have provided peer support for groups setting up shared housing. However, these networks support a relatively small demographic; typically an older generation with strong local roots and property to finance a new shared project. This research explores a route to shared housing projects that does not rely on property ownership, allowing a broader mix of people to benefit. In particular it works towards giving access to a younger generation with more precarious and transient working/living conditions.8 Experimental Residential has been commissioned by Common People in order to initiate and test the Common Rooms shared house.9 For Common People, living collectively presents an opportunity to support collaboration between start-up enterprises and extend existing creative networks.

6  Sam Brown, et al., Motivating Collective Custom Build Report, (Sheffield : University of Sheffield, 2013), p88 7  For example: UK Cohousing Network, Co-operatives UK, Students for Cooperation, Sheffield Co-housing network, SolidSpace Register (London). 8  The Motivating Collective Custom Build Report suggests that there is a demand for collective living within this demographic, stating ‘a growing acknowledgement that building homes together is of interest to households who would normally be termed as ‘first-time buyers’’. Sam Brown, et al., Motivating Collective Custom Build Report, (Sheffield : University of Sheffield, 2013), p38 9  Common People is an agency that supports creative entrepreneurs by organising pop-up shops and shared workspaces. For more information about Common People and the Common Rooms house see p30 of this newspaper.

Experimental Residential . 2015 . Research by Studio Polpo . Commissioned by Common People

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KEY TO AREAS OF CHANGE AND PRECARITY:

Key Business Areas

Sheffield Context

1. Sheaf Valley / CIQ:

Although much of the work presented in this newspaper is useful for groups across the UK, the Experimental Residential research has responded specifically to the condition and availability of empty buildings in Sheffield. Notably there are a variety of non-residential buildings within or in close proximity to the city centre that have been left awaiting development and are likely to remain ‘in limbo’ for the next 3-10 years. These buildings characteristically house artists and musicians since they offer low rents but uncertain futures, or lay empty and unused.

Area includes plans to demolish industrial buildings housing informal artists, music and studio spaces. Area hosts pop-up and meanwhile uses including night markets, a bakery and an event space in buildings awaiting comprehensive development.

Some of these areas have been indicated on the map opposite. Experimental Residential uses this context to explore how the lease of empty buildings can be obtained by groups and used to set up short-term, collectively managed housing.

Area includes Castle Market, currently being demolished. Plans for the site and wider Castlegate area have not been published yet.

2. Central Business district / Sevenstones / The Moor: Area includes land and buildings that were compulsory purchased, and in some cases demolished, for the large Sevenstones retail development before the project came to a halt. The Sevenstones sites (now the New Retail Quarter) are currently used as car parks, shops, restaurants, pubs with short leases, or left empty. 3. Riverside Business District:

New Retail Quarter (NRQ) Time scale, developer and nature of this retail development unknown / unpublished.

Methodology The research undertaken by Studio Polpo took a variety of forms including desktop analysis, mapping, in-situ environmental analysis, case studies, a shared meal with policy makers and the designing / prototyping of a secondary glazing system. In addition Studio Polpo supported and facilitated the Common Rooms project, a new shared house, between October 2014 and January 2015. The early evolution of Common Rooms was mapped and documented, and Studio Polpo’s research responded to the issues and questions that were raised through the project. Timelines based on the experiences of the Common Rooms project form part of the Experimental Residential research. These timelines explain the process of taking over and managing a shared house, as well as highlighting the hurdles, checks and initiating work required. A poster has been incuded in the centre of this newspaper to disseminate ideas about collective living to a broad audience.

University Campus Improvements 4. University of Sheffield 5. Sheffield Hallam

Consolidated Retail Core

Gold Route Connected sequence of public spaces between the station and the University of Sheffield.

Steel Route Proposed and partially completed pedestrian friendly route between Moorfoot to the south to Castlegate and Victoria Quays to the north

Bulky Retail Zone

Residential Existing residential sites in the central shopping business district

Mixed Use Area identified by Sheffield City Council as having opportunities for retail at ground level and other commercial and residential at upper levels

(Boundaries and routes taken from Sheffield City Centre Masterplan ‘Plan i Spatial Principles’ and ‘Plan ii Central Shopping Business District’, May 2013, pp14-20)

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Experimental Residential . 2015 . Research by Studio Polpo . Commissioned by Common People


Wicker Riverside

St Vincents

Castle House

3

4 City Hall

2 Devonshire Green

5

Devonshire Moor Market

1

Station


House warming party at OPERA

(far left) Screenprinting at OPERA (left) Private OPERA bedrooms

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Experimental Residential . 2015 . Research by Studio Polpo . Commissioned by Common People


shared living What is Shared Living? Shared living describes an arrangement in which two or more unrelated people share a house or apartment. Usually bedrooms are the only spaces which are individually allocated within a shared dwelling. Shared living is a common and desirable practice for many people especially students, young professionals and couples. It can provide a socially focused alternative to private, gated and individual flats which dominate the housing market, whilst often being more affordable. Typically 4-6 people share houses. This number is largely constrained by the number of bedrooms available in typical housing stock. [T]he desire for community living is winning over more and more individuals who are looking for real contact with their neighbours, the experience of using space alongside others, the solution of urban frictions, the sharing of common spaces, and the collective experience in general.10

Accommodating more people increases scope for collective actions and shared sociability and it also allows resident groups to occupy larger buildings. Here the latter is particularly significant; suddenly different, unconventional spaces become potential shared houses. The occupation of empty warehouses, offices, shops - prohibitively expensive and complex for a small group – become an ambitious large shared project. Larger shared houses are also able to accommodate transient residents and occupancy changes that would put a small shared house at risk. Models can be developed which allow residents to stay for different periods of time whilst maintaining a core of fixed residents, allowing experimentation in temporary residential uses to be explored.

[CASE STUDY]

OPERA: Open Public Experimental Residential Activity Studio Polpo initiated a series of residential performances called OPERA to explore

Expanding Shared Living Experimental Residential builds upon this familiar way of living together but suggests that there are benefits to expanding it to include larger groups. A shared house might be considered ‘large’ if it accommodates six or more residents since groups of this size are likely to require special planning consent11 and more formal co-operative structures.

temporary shared living. OPERA blurs the distinctions of art, performance and living to explore housing issues. For OPERA #1, in September 2014, Studio Polpo turned part of an empty department store in Sheffield into a house, as part of a larger curated art festival (the ‘Sheffield Bazaar’). Temporary eating, living and sleeping facilities were installed and this popup house was opened to invited guests and members of the public. Each evening guests were invited to cook and share a meal, host domestic activities and discuss issues surrounding housing, shared living and empty buildings. Through the OPERA project a space emerged in which different interest and desires could overlap through shared and convivial events. The OPERA house was never owned or controlled by one individual; it was shaped each night by the people that came to stay and the conversations, activities, food and stories that they brought. It demonstrated, in an intense and active way, the benefits of shared living; the OPERA residency was unpredictable and open-ended, but also exciting, sociable and good fun.

10  Arc en rêve centre d’architecture, New Forms of Collective Housing in Europe, (Basel : Birkhäuser, 2009) p35 11  See pp 27-29 of this report for more details about planning considerations.

The OPERA residencies use the freedom and stealth afforded to performance to celebrate shared living. Experimental Residential projects might take the OPERA concept but develop it so that it could be sustained for longer periods and could operate independently of an arts based practice. For more information visit: www.experimentalresidential.wordpress.com


self-provided reuse Self-Provided Housing

could be taken into consideration and tested.

creative experimental use.

There is already an awareness that connected individuals and independent groups, equipped with the ability to provide housing for themselves, have the capacity to change the shape of the housing market.

Self-build has a relatively small but established tradition in which collective efforts generally have been in support of the construction of individual dwellings. Experimental Residential wishes to raise awareness about potential opportunities if this selfbuild ethos is applied to the temporary re-use of empty buildings. Self-provided temporary reuse could be explored as part of the council’s vanguard status alongside custom and self-built new homes.

The model works best when the timeframe for occupation is made clear, so that tenants can make informed decisions about upgrading the property, and to avoid unexpected evictions.17 It has also been proposed that individual short-life projects could fit within a more strategic ‘pipeline’ of available buildings:

Although they might not know it, these individuals and small groups collectively form a growing, emergent, bottom-up, mass housebuilding industry; self-provided housing.12 Self-provided housing can describe houses that are built by groups of future occupants (self-build) or houses that are bespoke to the occupants, but constructed by builders/ developers (custombuild). Experimental Residential fits within this emerging housing trend, but shifts attention away from house building and towards the potential of existing, empty, non-residential buildings. Within this growing sector, Experimental Residential attempts to establish recognition - and spaces - for collective and self-provided reuse of empty buildings.

Sheffield City Council’s Vanguard Status Sheffield council has recently been awarded vanguard status within the Government’s ‘Right to Build’ pilot scheme.13 The council will be supporting groups that have an interest in setting up their own self-build and custom-build housing. During this period the experiences and desires of smaller independent projects such as Common Rooms

12  Alistair Parvin et al., A Right to Build (Sheffield : University of Sheffield School of Architecture and Architecture 00:/, 2011) p8 13  ‘Custom Build Housing in Sheffield’, https://www. sheffield.gov.uk/in-your-area/housing-services/private-sector-housing/custom-build-housing.html

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Short-Life Co-operatives Short-life co-operatives […] take over properties that are in some way unlettable, for a fixed period of time, which can sometimes extend for many years. The co-op does not own the properties, but has a lease with the landlord.14 The Experimental Residential shared housing model has parallels with short life co-operative houses in the south of England. Short-life houses were set up in the 1970’s in order to bring into use empty buildings owned by local councils that did not meet required standards for permanent social rental.15 Co-operatives were set up to take over and renovate these houses for short periods of time for low rents. Short-life co-operatives were initially set up in response to empty council owned housing stock, however more recent examples have used this model to take over privately owned property.16 Short-life co-operative management has been used to unlock different types of empty spaces for

14  ‘Short-life co-operatives’, http://www.cch.coop/coopinfo/types.html#short 15  ‘Affordable Housing’, http://www.artquest.org.uk/ articles/view/housing/2 16  See for example Phoenix Community Housing Co-operative, http://phoenixhousingcoop.org/

Rather than sourcing empty properties on a one off basis from a variety of different property owner partners, there could be mutual benefits to housing association developers and self-help groups from planning a pipeline of temporary use and hand backs.18 Short-life housing is a helpful precedent for Experimental Residential. It demonstrates that the separation of housing ownership and management can be done without compromising co-operative principles.

17  Problems have emerged when short-life housing has extended to many years and communities have placed significant effort and investment into the properties before being forced to leave. See for example, ‘Council and residents battle over short-life property evictions’, http://www. theguardian.com/housing-network/2013/apr/29/council-residents-battle-short-life-evictions 18  David Mullins et al., ‘Self-help housing – Towards a greater role’ Third Sector Research Centre, (Case Study Report 54, December 2010) Available online at <http://epapers.bham.ac.uk/785/1/CSR54_Self-help_housing_-_Mullins,_Jones,_Teasdale_Feb_2011.pdf> p17

Experimental Residential . 2015 . Research by Studio Polpo . Commissioned by Common People


Kaufhaus Breuer in Eschweiler (Germany). A former department store building was converted into a mixed use scheme including accessible flats for elderly residents with a communal focus.

Image by â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Eschweilerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; via wikimedia (Public Domain) and modified by Studio Polpo

Self-build housing (1992-5) on Parish Wharf, Woolwich. Designed by Architype for members of Cooperative Housing in South-East London (CHISEL).

Image by Steve Cadman (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)


â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Illustration of practices of participation as the hidden supports of building as capitalist accumulation.â&#x20AC;&#x2122;

Image by Anna Holder and Julia Udall

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co-operative management structures There are a number of widely recognised models for shared living including mutually owned and managed housing co-operatives, co-housing communities with shared spaces, and tenant managed housing associations. All of these models are aimed at creating a long term residential community, either through a building purchase/ mortgage or by working directly with housing associations. An important focus for the Experimental Residential research has been to explore how these established long term models can be adapted to suit a temporary housing project.

Housing Co-operatives Co-operatives are organisations that are owned and run by their members. Each member of a cooperative has an equal say in how it is run.19 Housing co-operatives are set up in order for groups to live together as an equal and autonomous group.20 The organisational structure of co-operatives is well-established and potentially ideally suited to shared housing. This study looks at how the cooperative model can be used to provide short-term shared living. Sheffield Student Housing Co-Operative (SSHC) is an example of a co-operative housing group that has been set up for a temporary community. They have explored different ownership models that can accommodate a transient population of students, whist maintaining a core desire for a co-operatively managed house.

Co-operatively Managed but not Owned Mutual housing is possible for transient communities when the definition of ownership is questioned.21 This study explores the potential for a co-operatively managed but not owned house. This allows for empty buildings that are not for sale to be occupied and it allows a shared house to form in a relatively quick timeframe since purchase capital is not required.

Using co-operative principles to manage a large rented house allows groups to quickly take over a building and run it for a short period of time as a space for shared living. Although vulnerable to development pressures, internal decisionmaking can be made collectively by residents and shared social spaces can be incorporated into the project.

21  Rosie Evered, ‘Sheffield Student Housing Co-op: Realising and Idea of Mutual Housing for a Transient Community’, (Sheffield School of Architecture Dissertation, 2011) Available online, http://sshc.sheffield.coop/resources.html p95

[CASE STUDY]

SSHC: Sheffield Student Housing Co-operative SSHC has been set up to provide co-operative housing for students in Sheffield. Their aim is to set up housing for this transient population, without landlords or expensive rents, and with a focus on community, the environment and house-caring skills. By taking on the day-do-day responsibilities of managing a property, they hope to bring down rents, provide a better quality of housing and give students the freedom and responsibility to look after the place where they live. At the time of writing SSHC has an active group of prospective residents who organise, fundraise and campaign for the project. They are expecting to move into two co-operative houses in time for the 2015/2016 academic year.

19  For more information about co-operatives see: ‘What is a co-operative?’ www.uk.coop/what-co-operative

In order to set up a co-operative house for a transient population they have

20  Housing co-operatives can be structured in different ways. For information about ‘fully mutual’ housing co-operatives that are owned and managed by their residents see: ‘How to Set Up a Housing Co-operative’ www.radicalroutes. org.uk/images/stories/HowtoHousingCo-op6theditionJuly2011low-res.pdf

The Co-operative Phone and Broadband. This has enabled the purchase of two

formed partnerships with other larger co-operative organisations, such as the properties for SSHC, through private investment. This initial partnership will allow SSHC to demonstrate the viability of their model and build up capital. It is hoped that in the future SSHC will be able to purchase houses independently and achieve further autonomy. For more information visit: sshc.sheffield.coop


Structure Diagrams

The diagrams show that financial and contractual agreements need to be set in place between the prospective residents, an incorporated group and an empty building owner. Decision making between residents can be carried out independently through co-operative principles. For a large shared house this is likely to include regular formal meetings alongside more informal arrangements.

inc orp

The diagrams opposite show proposed financial, contractual and decision-making structures between prospective resident groups and other organisations. They show the relationships that need to be formalised to facilitate a collectively managed, rented house.

up d gro ate r o

ive reside spect nts pro

A formal contract exists between the shared house residents and an incorporated organisation acting as a leaseholder. The incorporated group will take on a number of legal responsibilities as a landlord. These include: keeping the property safe and free from health hazards, making sure gas and electrical equipment is safe, following fire safety regulations, proving and energy performance certificate and protecting deposits.22

g owner din

empty bu il

?

collective management and decision-making by residents issues resolveld through regular meetings or more informally

Co-operative Management

22 These responsibilities are outlined in more detail with reference to legislation and further information here: https:// www.gov.uk/renting-out-a-property/landlord-responsibilities

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Experimental Residential . 2015 . Research by Studio Polpo . Commissioned by Common People

empty building


inc orp

inc orp

up d gro ate r o

tenancy with co-operative principles signed by tenants

money for rent paid through incorporated group

ive reside spect nts pro

short term lease signed with owner

up d gro ate r o

ÂŁ

ive reside spect nts pro

ÂŁ

g owner din

empty bu il

g owner din

empty bu il

money for management and building jointly spent

empty building

Contractual

empty building

Financial

Experimental Residential . 2015 . Research by Studio Polpo . Commissioned by Common People

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housing precarity The precarious nature of the Experimental Residential model means that being forced to move or adapt due to development pressures is a significant risk. Despite this, seeking temporary spaces for experimentation within the gaps not yet taken over by developers might allow for unpredictable but innovative forms of living to emerge. Temporary shared housing projects might accommodate a broader mix of residents and they may also encourage a larger degree of flexibility or open-endedness.

Pop-Up Living The Experimental Residential model, and projects like Common Rooms, provide opportunities to test and explore ideas surrounding temporary and meanwhile occupation. The ‘pop-up’ is now a familiar part of city centre retail experience in the UK and Europe, and there is an increased discourse surrounding their influence on long term city planning. Berlin’s ‘Space Pioneers’ is an example of this.23 Experimental Residential projects could push this temporary agenda forward, exploring how the apparatus of the pop-up could make contributions to city centre living and in particular act as a testbed for different models of living.

Avoiding Exploitation There is a risk that temporary uses serve to raise the value of development sites without any long term benefit or existence. Meanwhile uses have the capacity to change the public perception of a building or location, hence creating value. This can often be exploited by the owners of the assets with a gentrifying effect, pricing out the very people responsible for the increase in value. It is important for temporary projects to use their precarious but active condition to critique urban processes. Short term shared living projects would directly engage with areas of the city that are changing and could make visible the hidden structures, barriers and forces. ‘Public art and architecture are not only often complicit within [urban regeneration], but also offer moments and forms in which power and counter-power negotiate, clash and find articulation.’24 It is also important that there is an awareness of the potential gentrifying effect of projects concerned with temporary use and that measures are put in place to minimise this effect and safeguard the interests of those involved.

has purchased the building through community shares and now manages a range of housing types, studios and event spaces in central Hamburg.

Working with More Profitable Ventures It may be beneficial for temporary projects to work alongside longer term plans and with more profitable ventures, in order to contribute to the creative development of cities. A temporary use project may co-exist with a new, more profitable venture...If space pioneers are successful, in cases where projects either consolidate or co-exist with more profitable ventures, a new agenda for the location frequently ensues from the temporary use.25 When collaborations with developers, owners and long term partners are successful, temporary uses play an active and valued role in local development. ‘The location, its inherent resources, and a viable constellation of interested parties give the initial impulse for regeneration.’26

One way to mitigate against this gentrifying effect might be to develop a strong public profile. It is by articulating the function and regenerative potential of shared creative living that groups may begin to make claims for a more sustainable and less exploitable presence; either physically or through local policy making. It is possible for projects starting as temporary action to evolve into long term ambitions, even if maintaining a focus on transient use. One such project is the the Gängeviertel which started as a squat to take over heritage housing at risk of development and evolved into a co-operative that

23  Senatsverwaltung für Stadtenwicklung Berlin eds., Urban Pioneers: Temporary Use and Urban Development in Berlin, (Berlin : Jovis, 2007)

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24  Anthony Iles and Josephine Berry Slater, No Room to Move: Radical Art and the Regenerate City, (Mute Books, 2010) p8

25  Senatsverwaltung für Stadtenwicklung Berlin eds., Urban Pioneers: Temporary Use and Urban Development in Berlin, (Berlin : Jovis, 2007) p47 26  Ibid, p47

Experimental Residential . 2015 . Research by Studio Polpo . Commissioned by Common People


(Top Right) External view of Gängeviertel (Bottom Right) ‘The art is the collective. The city belongs to everyone !’ Interior of a space in Gängeviertel

[CASE STUDY]

Gängeviertel, Hamburg

Gängeviertel is a non-commercial urban space in the Centre of one of the most expensive office locations in Germany.

Image by Rauter25 (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Gängeviertel occupied an unused historic courtyard building, owned by the municipality, and transformed it into affordable housing of various types, studios, workshops, offices and event venues through successive refurbishments. The initial occupation in 2009 was made as a statement about rising rents and the lack of government action to oppose it or offer affordable alternatives. (Many of the activists had lost studios and apartments to gentrification processes). However this initial aim developed into the realisation of a lasting self-organised and open space for living, working and artistic activity. Developing a public profile was key to ensuring that Gängeviertel became a lasting alternative to the surrounding gentrification. The initial occupation was disguised as an art and courtyard festival and advertised throughout the city. Exhibitions and performances became visible to thousands of visitors and spaces were opened that had been closed for many years. This approach meant that the project was viewed favourably within the city and a programme of daily public events has continued. A co-operative has recently been established to lease the refurbished buildings from the municipality and ‘turn the initial tactic of cultural appropriation into a strategy through which the occupants of the Gängeviertel hope to overcome the precarious status of their situation’*.

*  CiT-Collective, Gängeviertel, New Cross Commoners, Revolutionary Autonomous Communities, Heike Derwanz and Hans Vollmer ‘Grassroots initiatives as pioneers of low-budget practices: An activists’ roundtable’ in Ephemera 15(1), February 2015 ‘Saving’ the city: Collective lowbudget organizing and urban practice’ p243.

Image by Steffi Reichert (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)


OUT T OU

expensive. housing is Change Uses. too private. the city Understand the rooms Rules. centre is quiet. Test Things. are too small. friends are far

! S R E T POS

Experimental Residential helps to introduce shared living into ShefďŹ eld city centre. It suggests ways to turn empty buildings into sociable, exciting, inclusive houses. It is a guide and toolkit to transform collective ideas into collective action.

PULL PULL

[notes]


TIAL EXPERIMENTAL SIDEN E L R A I T N E RESID

Form Groups. Use Empty Buildings. there are too many Share Activities. Share empty buildings. private Spaces. Meet People. housing is too Decide together.


there are too many Form Groups. empty buildings. private Use Empty Buildings. housing is too Share Activities. Share expensive. housing is Spaces. Meet People. too private. the city Decide together. centre is quiet. rooms Change Uses. are too small. friends Understand the Rules. are far


Things.

ofďŹ ce@studiopolpo.com

To Get Involved:

EXPERIMENTAL L A I T N E D I RES

Test


Decide together. expensive. housing is Change Uses. too private. the city Understand the rooms Rules. centre is quiet. Test Things. are too small. friends are far

Experimental Residential helps to introduce shared living into ShefďŹ eld city centre. It suggests ways to turn empty buildings into sociable, exciting, inclusive houses. It is a guide and toolkit to transform collective ideas into collective action.


COLLECTIVE SOCIABLE l a t n e m i er

exp

LIVING

l a i t n e d i res

How could short-term shared living be introduced into city centres? Experimental Residential suggests ways to turn empty buildings into sociable, exciting, inclusive houses. It is a guide and toolkit to transform collective ideas into collective action.

www.studiopolpo.com


“The right to the city is far more than the individual liberty to access urban resources: it is a right to change ourselves by changing the city. It is, moreover, a common rather than an individual right since this transformation inevitably depends upon the exercise of a collective power to reshape the processes of urbanization.” 1

Photograph by ‘An-d’ via wikimedia (CC BY-SA 3.0). Modified by Studio Polpo (CC BY-SA 3.0)

1. David Harvey, ‘The Right to the City’, New Left Review, 53 (Sept-Oct 2008) available online <http://newleftreview.org/ II/53/david-harvey-the-right-to-the-city>, para. 4

to get involved: office@studiopolpo.com


turning an empty building into a shared house (a diy guide) This guide explores the options available to groups seeking to take on a short term lease of a building and rent it with a formal contract with the owner.

Living in an Empty Non-Residential Building It is not illegal to live in a building without residential planning permission. Discrepancies between the use of a building and the planning consent attributed to it are frequently resolved retrospectively. The policy for planners to respond to complaints rather than seek out problems can sometimes also provide flexibility to prospective housing groups, however this assumes that there are no complaints from neighbours or third parties. Whilst groups could initiate a temporary residential project within the law and without formal planning and building regulation consent, if groups are committed to sharing their experiences to support others with similar interests, they could attract complaints by simply developing a public profile. The desire to make the project public, accessible and celebratory could be a key driver in seeking formal consents via local councils.

Reducing Risk Receiving planning permission and building regulations prior to inhabiting a non-residential building also reduces areas of financial and organisational risk. Some of these are outlined below: 1. A scenario where a lease has been taken out but complaints by neighbours prevent it from being used as a house are avoided. 2. There is a risk of harm from inadequate subdivision and escape opportunities in case of fire, as well as inappropriate sanitary provision that can be checked by building control. 3. Buildings may require work to be undertaken in order to convert it into a useable house and it would be financially risky to undertake this work without necessary formal permissions in place. 4. Changing the use class to residential before taking over the building will mean that the group pays council tax rather than business rates. This is likely to be financially favourable. 5. There are also a number of decisions to be made by the group, such as the type of use class being applied for, which can be agreed in advance with the whole group. 6. Retrospective planning fees are more expensive than getting permission in advance 7. Planners and regulators are more likely to view the project favourably if they are consulted at an early stage.

Experimental Residential . 2015 . Research by Studio Polpo . Commissioned by Common People

P 27.


(permission strands)

commercial rates

council tax

rates struck off

lease signed subject to planning permision leasehold

lease on hold

£

!

planning application submitted £

planning permission pre-app meetings

!

P

planning process (6-8 weeks)

! initial visits and inquiries

initial checks: covenants, aesbestos, electrics, local planning, etc

B

building regulation

building regs clarified during planning process

£

building regs application submitted following successful planning aplication

architectural feasibility work

initial investigations

testing proposal

formalisation of project

start shared living

Idealised timeline for negotiating building regulation, planning permission and rates

Legal and Regulatory Requirements for Residential Use A number of legal and regulatory requirements must be demonstrated or responded to in order to get permission to turn an empty commercial building into a shared house. These requirements have been mapped onto a simplified step by step ‘idealised’ timeline of actions and checks (above). This shows how different lines of inquiry can be undertaken in parallel to speed up the process and ensure that uncertainty surrounding planning and regulation are resolved as easily as possible. Where possible, it is advisable to secure a lease subject to planning permission to reduce financial risk. Proposed changes to planning use class and modifications to the building should be agreed with the building owner prior to signing a lease. The legal and regulatory actions labelled on the timeline are also commented on in more detail below, providing advice on best practice where appropriate. A section has been included on permitted development legislation that allows certain office uses to be converted into houses without planning permission.

P 28.

Experimental Residential . 2015 . Research by Studio Polpo . Commissioned by Common People


Planning Permission and Use Class

Rates and Council Tax

Required Drawings

Even if the physical fabric of the building is unaltered, planning permission is required to change the use of it. For the purposes of planning, building uses are broken down into different use classes and permission is required to change from one class into another.

Taking on the lease of a commercial building also means paying business rates for it. An advantage of changing the use class of a building to residential is that the requirement to pay business rates is replaced with a requirement to pay council tax.

A number of drawings are required to demonstrate that the above criteria are satisfied. Typically the following drawings would be produced, normally by an architect, as part of an application for planning permission and building regulations:

Rates can be struck off whilst a change of use planning application is sought.

1. ‘As Existing’ annotated and numbered plans of all floors showing any areas to be demolished or modified.

Although there are a number of residential specific use classes these are all tailored towards private dwellings and flats that accommodate up to six people. To establish a large shared house it is likely that a ‘sui generis’ use class will be required: Certain uses do not fall within any use class and are considered ‘sui generis’. Such uses include: theatres, houses in multiple occupation, hostels providing no significant element of care, scrap yards. Petrol filling stations and shops selling and/or displaying motor vehicles. Retail warehouse clubs, nightclubs, launderettes, taxi businesses, amusement centres and casinos.27 Sui generis caters for all uses that do not fit within the established use classes. Planning permission is required to change from, or to, any sui generis use. To satisfy the planners that a building is suitable for residential use it must be demonstrated that the bedrooms are quiet enough and light enough and that the introduction of housing will not negatively affect other uses within the area.

Building Regulations In addition to receiving planning permission the new shared house will need to meet requirements set out by building regulations. Again, even if no change to the physical building is proposed the formal change of use to residential means that different standards apply with respect to fire escape, daylighting, acoustic separation and thermal/building fabric issues.

Business rates apply even if a building is left empty. This could be a really important factor in making short-life residential uses viable and attractive to building owners. It is favourable for owners to lease out empty buildings, even at a pepper corn rent, if they no longer become responsible for the attributed business rates.

2. ‘As Proposed’ annotated and numbered plans of all floors showing: room types, fire escape routes, fire protected areas and doors, corridor widths, window locations and any new walls or structures. 3. Views and elevation drawings showing any changes to the exterior of the building

Covenants It is possible for restrictive covenants to be attached to land. Restrictive covenants can be used to prevent certain actions or uses from taking place on a site or in a building. Shared housing groups should check that prospective empty buildings do not have covenants preventing domestic use before negotiating a lease.

Permitted Development Some use-class changes fall under ‘permitted development’ and do not require planning permission. From 30th May 2014 new legislation has allowed some offices (falling in B1A use class) to be turned into housing (C3 use) under permitted development. This could be a viable route for groups who are looking to turn an office into a house. The advantage of permitted development is that it is easier, quicker and cheaper to formally change the use. However the boundaries of the C3 use class are unclear; groups of up to six groups would need to check that the desired type of residential occupation would be permitted with the local planning authority. Houses with more than six residents are not permitted under the C3 use class.

27  Planning Portal ‘Use Classes’ http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/permission/commonprojects/changeofuse/

Experimental Residential . 2015 . Research by Studio Polpo . Commissioned by Common People

P 29.


common rooms research study mon rooms grou p com

com mo le cic eop np

The Common Rooms project has acted as an extended case study and focus for the experimental residential research. The aim of the Common Rooms project is to set up a collectively managed house in Sheffield city centre within an empty building.

Financially and organisationally linked

Common Rooms is an example of a resident group that the Experimental Residential research has been targeted towards.

co-working space pop-up shops

shared living

new group

existing incorportated organistation with track record

Common Rooms project The Common Rooms shared house has been initiated by Common People, an organisation that supports independent shops and enterprises through the provision of pop-up shops and shared workspaces. Establishing a house with an emphasis on collaboration, sharing and collective action is a natural extension to the projects and networks already supported by Common People.

com mo le cic eop np

The Common Rooms Project diagram shows the relationship between the Common Rooms shared house and the Common People organisation.

tenancy with co-operative principals signed by tenants

eet residen e str ts eyr

eyre stre et

ner ow

(top right) Common Rooms project with links to Common People

The proposed contract structure for Common Rooms

eyre street building

Contractual

P 30.

3yr lease signed by common people with owner

Experimental Residential . 2015 . Research by Studio Polpo . Commissioned by Common People


Wicker Riverside

St Vincents The Building: 121 Eyre Street

Castle House

A former funeral care building on Eyre Street was identified as a potential location for the Common Rooms shared house. Common Rooms set up a number of meetings with councillors and estate agents with a view to taking on the lease of this building for a period of 1 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 3+ years. In the end a restrictive covenant on the freehold prevented this from being a viable option. Although unrealised, 121 Eyre Street has been a useful case study and test bed for our research, since it is typical of many unused land banked buildings that could be turned into shared shortterm housing. The issues, opportunities and hurdles presented by 121 Eyre Street are likely to be common to other potential buildings and projects, in Sheffield and other UK locations.

City Hall

Devonshire Green

Station (top right) Front of 121 Eyre Street

Devonshire Location and context of 121 Eyre Street in Sheffield city centre 121 Eyre Street

Moor Market


JUNE

JULY

initial investigations

meetings, research. surveys

existing plan drawings recieved

pricipal of three year lease established

Studio Polpo Action

friends of common people formed initial prospective tenant group

JUNE

Conversations

?

P 32.

!

events and activities

Checks

Marketing

Contracts

Reports

Web / Blogs

Area of risk or uncertainty

B

Building Regulation

P

Planning Permission

first offer

!

checked for covenants

check electrical safety

noise levels in habitable rooms measured

draft proposal sent to SCC to assess scope of application

second (lower) offer

application recieved

P planning permission submitted

proposal sent to building control

tenancy with cooperative principals signed by tenants

?

public meeting

JULY

studio polpo move into union street building

AUG

SEPT

2014 testing eyre street

wk1

wk2

wk3

wk4

wk1

formalisation of eyre street project

prospective tenants meet and visit the building

start livin

meetings, research. surveys

initial area schedule by studio cella

applications and agreements

existing plan drawings recieved

pricipal of three year lease established

stall at anarchist bookfair led to mailing list and wider interest in project

studio polpo visit / survey building

meeting with head of regeneration at SCC first visit to eyre street building

friends of common people formed initial prospective tenant group

OCT

told friends on facebook

contracts and legal

Research

Meetings

!

check gas safety

!

existing use class clarified and use class research

check existing rate valuation

stall at anarchist bookfair led to mailing list and wider interest in project

stall at the sheffield anarchist book fair

tenants

Drawings

common people get funding to work with studio polpo

!

notify building checked why control and previous clarify app tenants left

erative grou pf -op co o

Money

Surveys

start livi

lease signed by common people

Completed / Proposed

Events

! !

lease subject to planning permission agreed

initial investigations

Site Visits

wk1

studio polpo visit / survey building

meeting with head of regeneration at SCC

initial area schedule by studio cella

Common Rooms Action

Social Media

wk4

formalisation of eyre street project

prospective tenants meet and visit the building

first visit to eyre street building

MAY

/

wk3

co-operative principals agreed

KEY:

Setting up Co-operative

wk2

ed alis rm

Two timelines are presented in this study; a ‘proposed’ and a ‘real’. They are snapshots of an evolving project and show the Common Rooms ambition (proposed) and the point at which a restrictive covenant halted the project (real).

wk1

told friends on facebook

studio polpo move into union street building

applications and agreements

We have broken down the process into different categories and stages, showing when important meetings, actions, issues, and checks took place. We also highlighted the points at which architectural research, surveys and drawings were required.

testing eyre street

OCT

contracts and legal

These timelines have been used as a tool to aid discussion, collaboration and future planning between Studio Polpo and those involved with Common Rooms, and to share the experiences of Common People with other groups interested in turning an empty building into a shared house.

SEPT

2014

stall at the sheffield anarchist book fair

tenants

Studio Polpo mapped the Common Rooms project as it developed. The timelines were updated and modified as the project changed.

events and activities

Timelines

AUG

start of tenancy

MAY

! check existing rate valuation

first offer

second (lower) offer

common people get funding to work with studio polpo

!

?

checked why previous tenants left

!

existing use class clarified and use class research

covenant on land brings a halt to the project

‘as existing’ and ‘as proposed’ drawings drawn for planning applcation and building regs

application recieved

8 week p


NOV

wk2

DEC

wk3

wk4

wk1

wk2

JAN

wk3

wk4

wk1

ing in eyre street

wk2

FEB

wk3

secure living at eyre street

2015 wk4

wk1

wk2

wk3

wk4

wk3

wk4

deadline for studio polp reserach

website / blog set up

studio polpo research completed. toolkit report handed over

energy performance certiďŹ cate

B building regs application submitted

?

8 week planning pocess

P planning permission granted

council tax paid

rates struck off

three month rent free period agreed with owner

Proposed Timeline

wk2

DEC

wk3

wk4

ng in eyre street

wk1

wk2

JAN

wk3

wk4

wk1

wk2

FEB

wk3

secure living at eyre street

2015 wk4

studio polpo research completed. toolkit report handed over

wk1

wk2

deadline for studio polp reserach

NOV

planning pocess

council tax paid

three month rent free period agreed with owner

Real Timeline

P 33.


On 23rd January 2015 Studio Polpo hosted a conversation about the Experimental Residential research. The conversation included officers from within Sheffield City Council (SCC) as well as organisations that introduce creative and temporary uses into unused buildings and shops. This section summarises some of the key themes that were discussed and some of the actions required to push forward temporary shared housing. The following people attended: Anna Jones (Policy Officer, Sheffield City Council) Matthew Hayman (Regeneration Officer, Sheffield City Council) John Clephan (Programme Director, Sheffield Housing Company) Steve Rimmer (Director, CADS) Felicity Hoy (Director, Common People CIC) Mark Parsons (Director, Studio Polpo) Jonathan Orlek (Director, Studio Polpo) Cristina Cerulli (Director, Studio Polpo)

in conversation

Processes for Living in a Non-Residential Building It was acknowledged from the outset that being able to legally bring empty buildings into residential use had significant potential. Being able to offer different types of spaces – workshops, studios, small businesses alongside shared housing was important and many of the existing empty buildings in Sheffield city centre, often warehouses or offices, were attractive because of this. The Eyre Street Common Rooms project was set up with the intention of using permitted development to introduce residential uses. It became clear that since the existing use (funeral care) and proposed large shared house fall under the sui generis use class, planning permission would be required. The introduction of temporary residential uses, and the associated permissions required were discussed. The council is unable to give temporary residential planning permission, so groups would probably need to apply for permanent change of use even for short term projects, with groups then having to decide between full planning permission or not mentioning their activities. It was suggested that grey areas such caretakers living at their workplace haven’t ever been clarified in planning law. There is still a question about what is defined

as accommodation, and how far you can go before a use that includes accommodation has to seek residential planning permission. A number of ‘property guardian’ schemes exist in the UK, including Sheffield1 and it may be possible to use them as a model to set up shared living, in addition to providing security through occupation. The process that Common Rooms undertook for 121 Eyre Street was considered good practice by the Council; they set up a formal planning officer viewing of the building, and then agreed on the form of the planning application. This provided comfort to the council and an idea about feasibility to Common Rooms.

Contributions that Re-using Existing Buildings Can Make Sheffield City Council is keen to increase the footfall into the city centre, and the Moor in particular is seen as somewhere that would benefit significantly from people living on it. Introducing shared flats above shops around the Moor has the potential to help SSC to meet their objective of creating a lively city centre as it would stop the area from shutting down at night. It is therefore something that councillors are likely to support. Although the council has disposed of many leaseholds within the city centre they do retain some properties that could be used as a pilot for Experimental Residential, perhaps in combination with the SSC work as a Custom Build Vanguard council. Looking at reuse within custom build is on the council’s agenda.

1  See for example Ad-Hoc Property Management (http:// adhoc.eu/great-britain/) and Camelot (http://uk.cameloteurope.com/12/1/security/security.html)

P 34.

Experimental Residential . 2015 . Research by Studio Polpo . Commissioned by Common People


There was general consensus that it would be a positive, and interesting move to get a shared housing prototype up and running that is multigenerational or family oriented, making it credible through a well worked out design proposal. This prototype could also provide housing for students within a mixed community, challenging the existing private and expensive accommodation that is typically offered to students.

Projects like Furnace Park2, where the council leased redundant land for three years at peppercorn rent, demonstrate that SSC is open to experiments, and temporary living in the city centre could be used to test shared housing without having to build. This could be useful for prospective custom build/ co-housing groups who what to test shared living â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;for realâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. This sort of activity could compliment and extend the custom build register, and using existing buildings may also be less daunting for people who are interested in self-provided housing.

Future Actions and Propositions It would be helpful to have a building to develop the Experimental Residential work and test existing barriers and limitations. Developing the temporary shared living model through a Council owned building would be useful, and SSC could support the project without losing an asset. The Eyre Street building was almost ready to move into (with power, heating and reasonable finishes) and it might be rare to find other empty buildings in such good condition. However if there was a commitment to allow the building to be used for a few years, then some investment could be justified, and a sweat equity model may provide an affordable way of fitting out the space.

2â&#x20AC;&#x192; See: http://www.furnacepark.org/

Experimental Residential . 2015 . Research by Studio Polpo . Commissioned by Common People

P 35.


exploring low cost environmental upgrade options A key issue in reusing empty buildings as homes is finding practical, economical and perhaps portable ways of upgrading the environmental performance of those buildings. We were keen to look at how the environmental performance of the reused buildings could be increased in a manner that was both low cost, effective and quick, enabling prospective residents to reduce energy usage (and thus heating bills) and increase comfort.

Developing a Secondary Glazing System The Eyre Street building considered by Common People has a large amount of metal-framed single glazing. Single glazing contributes significantly to heat loss, and was also flagged-up by the planning department as a potential noise problem, due to the building’s location at the corner of two busy streets and restrictions on the level of background noise allowed within bedrooms. In order to establish whether there was a noise issue, we engaged researchers from the Acoustics Research Group at the School of Architecture, University of Sheffield to carry out background noise readings. These were taken in all streetfacing rooms on a weekday morning and showed that background noise was generally unacceptable for residential use - background noise values exceeded the 30dB requirement for bedrooms for more than 90% of the period measured. However one of the rooms on the ground floor already fitted with secondary glazing produced readings under 30dB, suggesting that a simple intervention like installing secondary glazing would address the issue. Thermally, secondary glazing has been shown to effectively reduce heat loss without the need for replacement windows. In addition to this, the majority of commercially available thermal glazing systems are removable and have a low impact on the building fabric, making them suitable for old or

listed properties, or those where changes to the building fabric may not be permitted by a landlord, for example. Crucially, for a temporary project like Common Rooms, a secondary glazing system should be removable, but also adaptable, allowing the occupants to take with them any investments made on improving the building fabric.

Prototyping There are a variety of secondary glazing systems available, ranging from the very cheap (stretchable clingfilm-like material) to expensive aluminium framed glass systems. The graph opposite gives an idea of prices, relative benefits and drawbacks. Interestingly the U-values of these systems (a measure of the heat lost through the building fabric) are very similar, with the main differences arising from framing materials and amount of these (creating thermal bridges). Having been unable to pursue Eyre St, we identified a window at the offices of Common People (also metal-framed, single-glazed) on which to test a prototype system that might inform either a product, or a way of addressing the issues of heat loss and noise through cheap and adaptable secondary glazing. At this stage, M.Arch students at University of Sheffield’s School of Architecture, had recently completed the design of two secondary glazing systems for Portland Works, a Listed Victorian works building in Sheffield. The two systems they developed used timber and Perspex, along with re-purposed bicycle inner tubes to create an edge seal.28 We worked with two members of the student team, Jack Bennett and Emma Graham, to see if there were elements of their research and testing

28  Information and designs for the two glazing systems developed for Portland Works can be downloaded at www. onegreatworkshop.wordpress.com

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Experimental Residential . 2015 . Research by Studio Polpo . Commissioned by Common People

Prototypes Clockwise from top left: 1. Corner to edge detail of earlier prototype showing folded inner tube as compressible seal. 2. Corner detail of earlier prototype showing acrylic pane held in place by cork strip. 3. Early MDF prototype uses less pieces, but more waste of materials and time on CNC. 4. Earlier prototype showing adjustment bolts and extra 12mm thickness removed from Union prototype. 5. Earlier prototype showing timber dowel connection of corner joint.


that could be developed for Common Rooms, and whether a lighter, more efficient product could be made using CNC-cut plywood at Chopshop CNC, a Sheffield-based fabrication facility that we are partners in. This led to a series of prototypes that developed the Portland Works system, into a lighter plywood construction – the’ Union’ system. In parallel, we also investigated different ‘glazing’ materials, comparing cost, transparency and rigidity. One of the outcomes of this process, driven in part by the heating issues in Common People’s offices and the nature of the windows there, has been a minimal system using slim plastic channels and polycarbonate alone – the ‘Ghost’ system.

Cost comparison between commercially available systems (red) and the systems developed by Studio Polpo

4mm vs 10mm – 4mm polycarbonate transparency (left) vs 10mm polycarbonate transparency (right)

Experimental Residential . 2015 . Research by Studio Polpo . Commissioned by Common People

P 37.


Choosing the Right System Flowchart diagram to help select the most appropriate system depending on reveal/ cill condition, transparency requirements and cost constraints.

Installation Factors As noted above, the reduction in heat loss of the various systems is very similar, and the size of the air gap between panel and window (glass to glass) is generally thought not to increase thermal performance above a particular width â&#x20AC;&#x201C; however this width varies depending on the source of information from 20mm to 30mm. Acoustic performance does increase with a larger gap and a 100mm air gap between the secondary glazing and the existing windows (glass to glass) is generally considered to provide optimum sound reduction. Where sound proofing is required, pane material of a different thickness to the glass in existing windows will help to block different wave lengths of sound Sealing gaps around existing windows is important, as is ensuring that condensation forming between secondary glazing and original windows can escape.

Thermal Imaging Clockwise from top left: 1. External thermal image showing office window with Union secondary glazing test (a) and adjacent single glazing (b) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; window b seen to be warmer and therefore losing more heat. 2. Close-up thermal image of Union prototype showing cold areas (c) where pane (d) not sealed against timber frame, and colder areas at rubber seal. 3. Internal thermal image of Union test showing poor seal between frame and pane at (a) and (b). 4. Internal view of room â&#x20AC;&#x201C; note temperature of single glazing (around 10 deg.C) (a) compared to that of Union pane in adjacent image.

P 38.

Experimental Residential . 2015 . Research by Studio Polpo . Commissioned by Common People


The Two Secondary Glazing Systems The ‘Union’ System: • The Union system is primarily for large, uneven openings requiring transparent panes – the system gives a stiff support to less rigid sheet materials. It is also well suited to applications where nothing can be fixed to the reveals, such as in listed buildings. • The cost is comparable to a fixed glass pane aluminium framed system, however is more adaptable.

Final Designs Clockwise from top left: 1. Union window prototype showing adjustment bolt 2. Union prototype corner piece showing jigsaw joint. 3. Union prototype corner piece showing cork packing and 4mm Perspex. 4. Ghost system in situ. 5. Ghost system showing 10mm polycarbonate sitting in rail. 6. Union prototype in-situ.

• The corner pieces essentially hold the frame in place – bolts and feet screw through threaded nuts housed in the timber to push against the reveal, allowing fixing to uneven and rough surfaces, but also easy removal by loosening fixings. Wingnuts allow this to be done manually, bolt/screw heads allow this to be done with a drill or screwdriver. • Should the system be dismantled and taken to a different building, horizontal and vertical connectors can either be reduced in size, added to, or replaced to suit new openings. • The ply horizontals and verticals are in two pieces to clamp sections of mountain-bike inner tube that act as compression fittings against the reveal. If required, inflatable inner tubes can also be used, and the shaped corners allow these to be held in place. The horizontal and vertical connectors can however be replaced with standard 25 x 38mm softwood sections should this be preferred. • The system is made from 12mm plywood allowing the elements to be cut from a single sheet thickness, and reducing labour costs – all elements are pre-drilled to aid assembly • Different pane thicknesses from 2mm – 10mm can be accommodated through the use of foam draught tape, or cork strips in the recesses within corner pieces. •

The system can be assembled by anyone so

can be cut and packaged as pieces, or potentially part-assembled (for a charge) and sent to the user. • Still a prototype, this system can be further developed. Using traditional joinery tools may allow routed lengths to hold panes and sealant strips for example, as opposed to a two-piece element. • There is the potential for the design files to be created on parametric design software, allowing CNC cutting files to be produced easily for a different window sizes.

The ‘Ghost’ system: • As most of the complexity of windows (and weakest thermal element) lies in the framing, this system uses the most rigid and most transparent pane material simply held by a square-section uPVC track. • The track is fixed either by screwing/nailing to cill and top reveal, or fixing with adhesive pads/ double sided tape. Due to the light weight of the panes, little fixing is required. • Panes can be staggered with a slight (20mm) overlap allowing them to be slid into place, but also moved aside to allow window access. • In order to reduce draughts at joints and edges, adhesive-backed foam tape can be applied to the inside of tracks and edges of overlapping panes. • All system components can be ordered online, or purchased from large DIY outlets – a number of online companies will cut polycarbonate to size and deliver. • Screw/adhesive- fixed tracks can be reused. • There is also potential to alternate polycarbonate and clear perpsex panes, hower the lower rigidity of the Perspex will potentially require extra framing.

Experimental Residential . 2015 . Research by Studio Polpo . Commissioned by Common People

P 39.


summary It feels like the time is right, at least in Sheffield, for new models of housing, and living in the City centre in ways that have maybe not been considered in master plans and existing strategies. Three factors are combining to make this the case. Firstly, the economic downturn of recent years has led to numerous buildings and sites in the city centre which had been emptied in anticipation of demolition and redevelopment, remaining empty, with at best window dressing to give an impression of activity. Secondly, there is an urgent need for more housing nationally – housing demand is quoted by some to be in the region of 250,000 new homes a year1 and in addition to this actual affordability is crucial - a recent Guardian article quoted: In some areas of the country homes now cost almost nine times local salaries, and those who will never be able to afford to buy or rent privately are on council house waiting lists with more than 20,000 other people.2

Thirdly, and finally, there is an increasing interest in both custom-build, and alternatives to speculative housing provision, and models of housing with a greater element of shared facilities, such as cohousing are gaining popularity, especially amongst older people. Sheffield City Council was recently successful in its bid to become one 11 Vanguard Councils,3 giving it funding to develop a strategy for housing provision that may include new models of land transfer, typologies and procurement. Many existing UK examples focus on new-build, either on ‘greenfield’ or ‘brownfield’ sites however, whereas in Continental Europe, where living in cities is more common, many example of creative re-use and retrofit exist. When considering sites for housing, and in particular in relation to our cities, this often comes down to zoning and master planning. The processes of commissioning, development and implementation of master plans are lengthy, and by the time these are put into place the social, political and economic climate may have changed. Could shorter-term models of housing, allow both local authorities and those interested in living in different ways, to see how these might work in practice by testing both housing types, and housing locations in the shorter term?

1  Pete Jefferys, Shelter ‘One million missing homes’, blog.shelter.org.uk/2013/07/one-million-missing-homes/ 2  Hilary Osborne and Paddy Allen, The Guardian ‘The housing crisis in charts’ http://www.theguardian.com/money/2015/jan/12/the-housing-crisis-in-charts

P 40.

3  ‘Custom Build Housing in Sheffield’, https://www. sheffield.gov.uk/in-your-area/housing-services/private-sector-housing/custom-build-housing.html

Experimental Residential as an Alternative Organisations such as Common People are already doing this in the sphere of business startups, allowing young organisations to test ideas and bring life to underused areas of the city – the Union Street Co-working Space being just one example. Housing could also form part of this rich mix of new ideas and life in the city. Meanwhile need not mean precarious, and the creative, short term use of existing buildings does not require significant investment. More of us are asking why the availability and, just as importantly the design, of housing should be dictated primarily by large developers, their profits and ‘the market’? The variety of non-domestic buildings in the centre of our cities offers huge opportunities, architecturally, in terms of larger, or different types of spaces. Buildings of this type are often suited to conversion and more flexible use due to larger wall/column free areas (clear spans) and structural capacity of floors. A greater connection to others, proximity to shops and services, and an opportunity for reduced car usage are all additional benefits of living in the city – as is proximity to workplaces. All of these have financial and often health benefits . Businesses also benefit from increased footfall and a local customer base, and city centres become lively and well-used at all times. At present, student housing dominates the housing market in Sheffield, however this is a transient market, housed in small, high-density, and often inflexible units, and many think the mass provision of student housing for a currently large international student market is a bubble that may burst in the nottoo-distant future. There is an opportunity for family

Experimental Residential . 2015 . Research by Studio Polpo . Commissioned by Common People


dwellings, live-work spaces, housing for the elderly and combinations of dwellings of varying sizes and typologies in the city centre, and for Sheffield to lead by example. There is also the huge challenge in reducing carbon dioxide emissions, with the construction and operation of buildings contributing almost 50% of Carbon Dioxide emissions4. Whilst stricter regulations are delivering more energy efficient new homes, there are significant savings to be made by retrofitting our existing building stock, reducing both the energy required in demolition of existing, and in the construction of the new. Innovate UK, through the ‘Retrofit for the Future’ programme, have also highlighted the role that designers and researchers can play in reducing the energy required to occupy existing housing stock.5 In terms of the legibility and character of our cities, this adaptation of the existing allows layers of history to remain visible – and although not always of architectural significance, our commercial or industrial buildings are part of the story of city centres, and their wholescale removal and replacement (that often forms part of local government strategies) can sometimes rob us of this rich collage of buildings.

A key driver of this study, and the manner of its distribution, has been to put information and research that may otherwise often stay within academia or local government into the public realm. The Experimental Residential project has the twin aims of demystifying certain processes to allow anyone to engage with them and of acting as a call to action and engagement, a starting point for a conversation or further actions by others. We hope that by doing this people in Sheffield and beyond can positively influence their city centre, to create a variety of lively and positive models for inhabiting and enlivening the many empty and unloved buildings found there. We hope that this study will form a starting point for further investigations, initiatives and discussions, and if you want to become part of the conversation, get in touch.

there are too many Form Groups. empty buildings. private Use Empty Buildings. housing is too Share Activities. Share expensive. housing is Spaces. Meet the People. too private. city Decide together. centre is quiet. rooms Change Uses. are too small. friends Understand the Rules. are far Test Things.

Studio Polpo

EXPERIMENTAL L ENTIA D I S E R

To Get Involved:

office@studiopolpo.com

4 Local Governmant Taskforce,‘Sustainability: Sustainable Construction’ Constructing Excellence, Section 2 Available online at: http://www.constructingexcellence.org.uk/pdf/lgtf/ S2.pdf p3 5

retrofit.innovateuk.org

Experimental Residential . 2015 . Research by Studio Polpo . Commissioned by Common People

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bibliography Housing:

Activism:

Brown, S.; Cerulli, C; Stevenson, F., Motivating Collective Custom Build Report, (Sheffield : University of Sheffield, 2013)

Amin A., Massey D., and Thrift N., Cities for the Many not the Few (Bristol : Policy Press, 2000)

Aravena A. and Lacobelli A., Elemental : Incremental Housing and Participatory Design Manual, (Ostfildern : Hatje Cantz, 2012)arc en rêve centre d’architecture, New Forms of Collective Housing in Europe, (Basel : Birkhäuser, 2009) 

Awan, N., Schneider T., Till., Spatial Agency: Other ways of Doing Architecture, (Abingdon, Oxon England ; New York, NY : Routledge, 2011 )

Barlow, J., Jackson, R., Meikle, J., Homes to DIY for - The UK’s SelfBuild Housing Market in the Twenty-First Century, (York : Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2001) Giménez, A., and Monzonis, C., Collective Housing, (Valencia : Editorial Pencil, 2007)  McCamant, K., Durrett, C., Cohousing - A contemporary Approach to Housing Ourselves (Berkeley, Calif. : Ten Speed Press, 1994) Morris, J, Winn, M. 1990. Housing and Social Inequality. (London : Shipman, 1990)  Parvin, A., Saxby, D., Cerulli, C., Schneider, T., A Right To Build - The Next Mass-Housebuilding Industry (London and Sheffield : Architecture 00:/ and University of Sheffield School of Architecture, 2011)

Bell, B. and Wakeford K., Expanding Architecture : Design as Activism (New York : Distributed Art Publishers, 2008) Berry Slater, J. and Iles, A., eds, No Room to Move: Radical Art and the Regenerate City (London : Mute Books, 2010) Harvey, D., Rebel Cities: From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution, (London : Verso Books, 2012) The Institute for the Art and Practice of Dissent at Home, Five Book, (Liverpool : The Institute for the Art and Practice of Dissent at Home; Unbound, 2014) Minton A., Ground Control: Fear and Happiness in the Twenty-First-Century City, (London : Penguin, 2012)

Schneider, T. and Till, J., Flexible Housing, (Amsterdam and London : Architectural Press, Elsevier, 2007)

Temporary Use:

Space Caviar eds., SQM: The Quantified Home (Zürich : Lars Müller Publishers GmbH, 2014)

Muzio, S., Southwark Lido, (Gattacicova, 2009)

Ward, C., Cotters and Squatters: Housings Hidden History (Nottingham : Five Leaves Publications, 2002) Ward, C., Housing: An Anarchist Approach, (London : Freedom Press, 1976)

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Ring K., Self Made City (Berlin : Jovis, 2013) Senatsverwaltung für Stadtenwicklung Berlin eds., Urban Pioneers: Temporary Use and Urban Development in Berlin (Berlin : Jovis, 2007)

Experimental Residential . 2015 . Research by Studio Polpo . Commissioned by Common People


Sharing, Participation and Co-operation: Blundell Jones, P., Petrescu, D., Till J., Architecture and Participation, (London : Spon, 2005) Cheeseman, M., ed., NO PICNIC: Explorations in Art and Research, (Sheffield and London: NATCECT & AND Publishing, 2014) Hofmann F., Architecture is Participation: Die Baupiloten Methods and Projects (Berlin : Jovis, 2014) Kindon, S., Pain, R., Kesby, M., Participatory Action Research Approaches and Methods – Connecting People Participation and Place, (London : Routledge, 2007) muf, This is What We Do : a muf manual (London : Ellipsis, 2001) Pearson, L., F., The Architectural and Social History of Cooperative Living, (Palgrave Macmillan, 1988) Radical Routes, How to Set up a Housing Co-operative, 7th Edition, (Leeds : Footprint Workers Co-op, 2010) Webb, B., The Co-operative Movement in Great Britain (Aldershot : Gower, 1891)

Experimental Residential . 2015 . Research by Studio Polpo . Commissioned by Common People

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ES RForm

L A I T N E D I Groups.

Experimental Residential helps to introduce shared living into Sheffield city centre. It suggests ways to turn empty buildings into sociable, exciting, inclusive houses. It is a guide and toolkit to transform collective ideas into collective action.

Use Empty Buildings. there are too many Share Activities. Share empty buildings. private

Spaces. housing Meet isPeople. too Decide together.is expensive. housing Change too private. theUses. city Understand the rooms Rules. centre is quiet. Testtoo small. friends Things. are are far

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Experimental Residential helps to introduce shared living into Sheffield city centre. It suggests ways to turn empty buildings into sociable, exciting, inclusive houses. It is a guide and toolkit to transform collective ideas into

Experimental Residential  

Strategies for shared living and re-use of empty city centre buildings for temporary domestic purposes, produced by Studio Polpo for Common...

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