Each year the company ISOVER organizes an annual international student contest divided in a national and consecutively, an international stage. This project was created for the 2012 edition of the contest, as the task was to design a sustainable community in a derelict postindustrial area in Nottingham, UK and to propose a housing typology compatible with the standards of the passive house.
The project constructs its approach based on firstly, the existing plans and proposals for the area, which is a part of Nottingham Waterfront Regeneration zone and secondly, on an interpretation of what a sustainable community means in terms of urban regeneration.
The proposed housing typology uses the idea of separating “form” (the outer, connective layer of a building which responds to its context’s aesthetics, natural conditions, urban form) and “function”, which is compatible with standardization, modularity and adaptability.
The project received first prize in the national stage of the competition in April, 2012.
The site, a presently derelict area, which was once in the center of Nottingham’s industrial activity, is located in the Trent Basin zone in Nottingham, alongside the river Trent. It is approximately 175x80m in dimension (11, 700m2). The site exists as part of a wider area (46, 232m2), encompassing a number of depots and warehouses and the Trent Basin. It is part of the Waterside Regeneration Zone, a broad area along the river Trent for which the Nottingham City Council has devised an ambitious, long-term program for redevelopment. Moreover, specifically for the Trent Lane Area, which is the subject of the competition, there is a more detailed planning brief from 2002 which envisages it as a primarily residential area connected to its surroundings through a riverside park and recreation zone and an improved vehicle and pedestrian access through Trent Lane.
The project strategy is based on firstly, the existing plans for the area as part of the Waterside Regeneration Zone and secondly, on an interpretation of what a sustainable community means in terms of urban regeneration. In this regard, I have divided the strategy into two basic concepts: reconnect, which refers to reestablishing the physical connections between the area and its surroundings and secondly, revive, through the integration of a variety of functions.
The concept for the residential structure is derived from the old and already annoying juxtaposition of form and function. Form is regarded as entirely contextual, that is, reflecting and responding to the givens of its surroundings. Function, on the other hand, is the content of the residential structure, which is more or less a subject of standardization and allows for modularity and prefabrication.
Consequently, the residences are constructed in a number of stages, in which the form and the function are structurally separated. Form, or the envelope of the buildings, serves as a connection between the standard modules with the surroundings through its shape, its orientation, providing the necessary installations etc. The residential units themselves are two-storey units above commercial units (shops, offices, stores etc.), which are a subject of individual customization.