Social housing can be beautiful and sustainable, like the Kings Road Affordable Flats

side louvres photo
© Modece Architects

Correspondent Donna asks “Is there any one out there willing to work with those who are not of the 1%? I am beginning to think those of us that don't have a cool mil sitting around, have to settle for an abandoned tiny house or a cave to retire to.”

Yes Donna, there are lots of people designing very green, very sustainable housing for people to retire to. There are co-housing projects where people do it together; There are social housing projects built by non-profits and social agencies that are often wonderful. I recently discovered this, built almost 10 years ago by Modece Architects in the UK that got me really excited; I don’t know how I missed it all this time.

weathered facade© Modece Architects

The project combines timber construction, low technology M + E services and plant life which creates a beautiful low energy, ecological building. Full height planting screens support wisteria and clematis which give identity and seasonal change to the building.

louvre details© Modece Architects

In fact it uses a lot of wood in very inventive ways. It was built in 2008, before wood construction became so fashionable again, so probably didn't get noticed in the same way it would now.

front elevation detail photo© Modece Architects

The mature wisteria and clematis grow up the screen framework of stainless steel cables on the timber frame. Tests showed that the surface temperature on the cladding behind the screen is reduced by approximately 2 degrees C on a sunny day.

front perspective photo© Modece Architects

It is in Bury St. Edmunds, UK, not far from Cambridge, on the edge of a conservation area; It sounds like a nice place to live. It is built by the Havebury Housing Partnership, “a specialist in affordable housing” that manages over 6,000 houses and apartments in the area.

Donna is not alone in worrying that she might have to live in an abandoned tiny house or a cave; I have been writing more about this subject on MNN.com, where I have looked at the baby boomer demographics:
The big wave of aging baby boomers is coming

at alternatives to conventional ownership:
​Baugruppen: It's a cooperative living concept, and it's perfect for boomers

at some houses marketed to seniors that I think are all wrong:
This house is not designed to help anyone age gracefully

And at the question of retirement sprawl.
What kind of housing do aging boomers need?

Tags: United Kingdom | Wood Construction

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