Do you hear me when you sleep?
This project aims to propose a prototype for cooperative housing in London. The prototype evolves from a collaboration with Sun Co-op, a freelance organization formed in 2017, with priorities to search for alternative housing solutions related to their own way of living and working. The main goal of this project is to translate the communal ownership of land into a communal house that gives to its residents the opportunity to modulate sharing and privacy according to their needs and aspirations.
In order to facilitate access to land for these initiatives, the city of London has provided open access to data regarding available public land. Often these allotments were designated as unused or misused zones, next to railway lines, parking lots and vacant spaces. These terrains, frequently located in central London, represent a viable alternative to suburban spreading. Even though the sites are undervalued by developers, they can serve as the ideal background for experimentation with new forms of housing.
Through private funding and bank loans, the cooperative aims to finance a communal house for approximately forty people, in which every inhabitant is equipped with a private room (that can be doubled or tripled according to necessity) and shares kitchens, living rooms and terraces with the community. The building also includes spaces for work, providing the residents with shared office spaces, workshops, and meeting rooms. Modular configurations allow for multiple forms of inhabitation that can evolve through time, adapting and adjusting to each household. This is possible because the ownership system guarantees every member of the co-op a share of the whole building rather than a specific unit.
The co-op becomes its own governmental organ, scaling up administration and decision-making processes, daily expenses and duties, from the individual to the community, while providing a more independent financial and administrative setting. Operating with self-organizing principles, the prototype can be implemented autogenously, which in this context, grants inhabitants control over the building processes. This process entrusts the acquisition of administrative and constructive skills to residents, thereby minimizing the need for external developers and contractors.
We have conceived this prototype for a communal house as a repeatable structure that can be implemented in different sites in various configurations. The guiding principle of this prototype for co-operative housing is that its subdivision is not based on the apartment but on the room for one or two people. In this way the same building can contain both communal arrangements where many rooms share large collective spaces or more traditional self-contained apartments. As the building ages and households change, dwellers can negotiate spatial solutions that suit their diverse needs. Larger applications of the prototype can be curated as a model for large scale social and even public ‘council’ housing.
Do you hear me when you sleep?
Pier Vittorio Aureli and Martino Tattara, with Mariapaola Michelotto, Antonio Paolillo, Barbara Mazza, Marie Oudon
In collaboration with Sun-Co-op, London