Portfolio 2: Settlement
- a negotiation and agreement
- a layering of matter coming to rest and stopping
Both of these definitions can describe the ways that people engage with the territory around them. Early on in the project, Andrew Clancy remarked how the unit should approach the landscape and site their buildings not too delicate, avoid prissiness but to be firm and robust, to be sensitive but unsentimental about the site, about the peninsula.
The students were invited to compose their own briefs to match the site they had chosen. The concept of settlement was tied loosely to the requirement for around 60 residences with a wide variety of sizes and mixtures chosen by the students. Kalkebrite, a co-operative housing scheme in central Zürich, was studied as an example of collective living, diverse demographics of its residents and its provision of community services. Though the setting of the Swiss scheme is very different from the rural peninsula on the west coast of Scotland the provision of a radical form of collective living for around 250 people in 97 apartments was roughly the same amount of people as for the new Craignish Settlements. It contains apartments for anywhere between one and twelve people.
Alex Wilson described the diverse mix of residences and is interestingly prescient of a settlement for people to work from home when written in January 2020.
The project brief embraces the growing trend of ‘remote working’, and sets out to create a community settlement which provides affordable housing and permanent working spaces for those who freelance or work from home. Providing around 50 initial dwellings of varying typologies, with the possibility for future expansion, the project is careful to provide the necessary flexible spaces which cater for the different work needs of the inhabitants.
The undeniably rural condition of the peninsular animates the projects beyond a housing scheme; the settlement needs to provide a level of self sufficiency similar to that described by Joy Slappnig of her childhood growing up in Halen near Bern in Switzerland. Through a level of isolation the idea of community is strengthened and, as Joy explained, what is usually seen as private – the living room, kitchen, garden – become much more communal. Many of the students used this condition, carving out areas meant for social interaction. Communal squares, laundrettes, saunas, winter gardens, working studios and both useful and useless spaces become integral in projects which seek to enable the coalescing of residents.
Reuben Roberts described how the act of living as a community would affect the size and layout of the flats:
By grouping the dwellings around larger shared area the private rooms of the houses, personal to each dwellings, can be larger, more generous, while minimising the house sizes making them more compact through the larger building. As part of the shared space between the local dwellings other amenities can be common between the residents such as the laundry area.
The arrangement of houses around a shared space offers the opportunity for the smaller units to combine to accommodate larger households. There are no individual flats larger than 3 bed (100m2).The housing is imagined to provide for a range of people of all ages. The ability to upsize and downsize within the same building.
Settlement: Quinta da Malagueira