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Reed Watts

Reed Watts Architects, London

New Ideas For Housing

Reed Watts Architects, in collaboration with Claire Bennie, is investigating new typologies and models for housing in city centre locations. We have focused on how to create homes which are more appropriate for our ageing population, giving older people a reason to ‘down-size’ later in life.

The ‘baby boomer’ generation has seen their horizons expand in ways inconceivable to their parents. They have been able to travel and see the world and benefit from significant improvements in their standard of living and life expectancy. They have become discerning customers and they are unwilling to compromise on how and where they choose to live. Unfortunately, few housing developers have kept pace with their aspirations and as a consequence, there is little in the retirement housing market that is attractive to them.

Our proposals create high-quality homes for older people in city-centre locations, close to shops, culture, transport and other services. However, rather than creating a ‘ghettoised’ old-people’s home, the mixed-use buildings would also include flats for young people with their rent subsidised by their older neighbours.  At street level, the buildings would incorporate incubator space for new businesses with older residents providing mentoring and business insight. Flats would be designed to suit the needs of their residents with those for older people incorporating flexible spare rooms and large balcony spaces. Guest flats would be made available for families to stay while visiting their relatives, and large roof-top gardens, balconies and social spaces would provide space for formal and informal activities.

The proposal, known as ‘Tony:Together Old’N’Young,’ was shortlisted by New London Architecture (NLA) as part of their ‘New Ideas for Housing’ Competition and was exhibited at the NLA in 2015.

Although light-hearted, our submission to the competition outlines how this housing model could be developed and funded.