2nd place Student

James Perry & Claire Harper
Kilburn Square Site

"The density of encounter is the substrate of sociability and the material basis of democracy."
(Michael Sorkin, 2003)

Kilburn Square was the result of a large-scale regeneration project drawn up in the early 1960s. Fifty years on, plans are being redrawn and proposals considered for another bout of top-down 'regeneration' - cosmetic surgery for the built environment. We reject this facelift mentality and short-term focus. Instead we have proposed a loose framework for future development based on the social, environmental and economic shortcomings and also opportunities of the site. These are captured in five 'criteria for regeneration':

  1. Coherent and connective Urban Mass
  2. Valuing urban Bustle
  3. Harnessing community Action
  4. Opportunity for Encounter
  5. Allowing Privacy

The majority of the estate buildings are retained, however opportunities for improvement, such as underground refuse storage, improved external spaces and balconies and developing communal allotments are suggested, with new development providing a trade-off to fund these improvements.

Our submission for the competition sets out three initial proposals for the future development of the site which are 'tested' according to the five criteria of urban mass, bustle, action, encounter and privacy. The proposals are to reinstate the historic public square connecting the estate to the High Road, to activate street frontages with small retail stalls and terraces of live/work units with apartments above, and finally, to convert existing, disused garages into drive-in terraced houses transforming an inactive street into a new pedestrian avenue through the estate.

3rd place Student

Tom Cole
Somerford Grove Estate

The proposal approaches regeneration and sustainability from a social and cultural emphasis as much as a technological one; a process of super DIY and gardening as a vehicle to better city living and dwelling. As part of the regeneration process, proposed basic interventions are intended to enable residents to go on to adapt their homes into that of their dreams and tastes and collectively shape their communal spaces to suit the community's needs. Be it shuttering their balconies, reconfiguring interiors or through additional allotments, barbeque and play-spaces, the proposal seeks to animate with colonisation the facade, the gardens and the street.

As part of the addition of new homes in the form of partial self-build apartments for first time buyers, DIY and construction workshops would be open to residents to assist in the transfer of knowledge and skills to go on to implement and adapt their own homes. Working with the existing robust fabric of the building, in addition to environmental performance improvements such as infill insulation and renewables, full length balconies opening out from living spaces and additional 'utility' balconies from kitchen spaces to the rear are introduced. Built and detailed with 'soft' easily adaptable materials such as timber, the balconies and newly accessible flat elevations can be painted, sanded, screwed, hammered, rendered, nailed and added to as the residents desire, driving a new aesthetic diversity and projecting a bit of themselves onto the wider community.

The introduction of enterprise and workshop space at street level presents an animated and active edge to the street, closing off and sheltering the communal gardens to the rear while offering low cost business space to the local community. Within the communal gardens, a menu of landscape interventions is proposed as part of a participatory design and planting process while residents can adapt and change the landscape to meet future needs and interests such as more or less allotment space, play space, barbeque spaces, roof top allotments, community workshop, cycle storage, sheds and bio-diverse landscaping.