Make Me A Home Competition

Making Homes; it’s no easy task.

But great sites inspire and the River Tees begs for access, engagement and activity. Every resident should have a view, so every unit gets one (some slivers, some great swaths of green and blue) and while the automobile is a necessity most are saddled with to some degree, let’s keep the cars back from the River Walk so the kids can run around and crossword puzzlers can puzzle in peace.

Starting at the northern edge of the site, there is a line of commercial space fronting the road, so when residents head to work or school or the bus-stop for some reason, then return home, they can pick up a paper, the milk, the cleaning, the kids…

Above the commercial strip is a series of simple studio apartments clad in light colored brick, quite possibly places for some of the shop proprietors to reside. Solar collectors are proposed on the roof above (the highest roof in the neighbourhood) to supplement electrical use and pre-heat hot water for the units below.

Moving south, toward the river, the homes take the form of interlocking units in rows with smaller streets or walkways in between each row. Private gardens and terraces are nested in the system which is organized along a series of utility cores that form the spine of each row. The utility cores collect rainwater from the roofs for reuse as grey water in appropriate plumbing fixtures and irrigation water for the gardens. The cores also house all the plumbing (baths, kitchens) and internal circulation for each unit. These units are clad in reclaimed industrial brick.

Cars are allowed in, and parking is proposed curbside, but not on the bike paths which are separate and off limits to machines with engines. The internal streets allow vehicular circulation into the site, so drop-offs are easy and deliveries manageable but most homes get a break from traffic.

South of the internal street the units begin to separate, forming modest individual houses each with its own utility core serving the same functions as the cores on the interlocking units. Housing occupies a fairly flat plane on the site, sloping very gently down toward the river, but the intermediate walkways are allowed to cascade down to the River Walk forming a grand set of stairs and ramps to the water.

The multiple housing types encourage diversity—a whole range of residents is possible in a variety of homes.

And that’s what makes it exciting, inspiring and intriguing, right?