Scotswood Housing Expo

As part of our submission for the Scotswood Housing Expo we have proposed three schemes in an atempt to re-invent traditional terraced housing taking modern living requirements into account. The following narratives have been applied to all schemes:

  • Floor plans need to be flexible to allow for the changing requirements throughout the life of the occupier.
  • Living spaces need to be as large as possible. 
  • Circulation zones need to be kept to a minimum.
  • Maximize the amount of natural sun light.
  • High floor to ceiling heights allow for more storage space, more light and a sense of more space.
  • Integral outdoor spaces and integrated planting seem to extend the physical envelope of a building.
  • Sufficient storage space is essential for most occupiers – integral storage solutions can be efficient and cost effective if designed in at an early stage.
  • Integrated lighting can be cost and energy efficient and adds character to spaces.

The following three row-houses layouts have been specifically adopted for the Scotswood Expo competition and should show a variety of how the points above can be addressed.


Sleeping Towers


The diagram of this layout is simple and yet allows for a great varity:


The ground level is formed by a deep but high ‘glass slab’ that connects neighbouring houses. It forms the living space and is mostly glazed to the front and the rear. Its green roof forms a communial terrace that is pierced by skylights that enable additional light to flood certain areas below.


On top of the terrace sit the ‘Sleeping Towers’. Every house has one tower and each tower can be one to three stories high. Each floor contains one to two bedrooms depending on the owners requirements, a bathroom, a ‘storage wall’ and a shared study area. 


The towers sit always slightly tilted next to each other to add a certain randomness. Each bedroom has a fully glazed facade to one side which is dependant on the building-, the individual tower- and the neighbouring tower oriantation. This allows for and additional varity.


To avoid a monotone appreance on ground level integral planters, individually designed entrance areas and a choice of opaque claddings allow for a costum made section of facade which can be established with the individual owner.


Interwoven terraced housing


The roots of this scheme have little to do with terraced housing – instead they can be found in the individual aspects of a detached or semi-detached house or in the shapes of old central European farms or Moroccan riads (traditional houses that have a central courtyard).


Each house wraps around an interior garden that is shared with the neighbour. That enables additional light to penetrate through the side walls that are usually solid. This layout allows for an inward focus that implies family privacy and protection from the weather. The courtyard is used to access the buildings, safe playground for children, external dining area, bicycle storage, herb garden, etc. It should also be seen as a ‘tool’ to from neighbourhood communities.


Terraces and staggered volumes break down an otherwise introverted appearance towards the street. The physical boundary of two adjacent houses becomes blurry to the ‘outside’. The scheme could be easily extended to several adjacent houses.


The constant conversion


This idea takes the problems of the conversions of single houses into individual dysfunctional flats as inspiration. However, here the process has been inverted: instead of splitting a large volume into smaller ones that have never been allowed for and therefore result in small spaces, narrow staircases, a lot of circulation area and insufficient light we design small spaces that can be converted into larger ones if required. The staircase is semi-external and can be converted into an internal one with relatively little effort if required. Each house can either contain three studios, a studio with a two-bedroom flat or four-bedroom house. Since the staircases are always on the same side of the individual house it is feasible to have additional openings in the side walls to allow for more day light inside the buildings.


Steps in the facade creating terraces, balconies, voids, integrated planting, etc ensure individuality on the different levels and from one house to the next. 



Client: English Partnerships in association with the Newcastle City Council


Status: Completed

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