I recently started reading the blog of Michael Mortensen. Michael is a real estate developer and urban planner based in the UK. And if you like my blog, I think you’ll also like his.
Last week he published a post talking about a UK development company called Pocket and a recent design competition that they organized called “Pocket two bedroom.”
Historically the firm has been focused on well-designed and compact one bedroom apartments (38 square meters) that they deliver at a minimum 20% discount relative to typical market rate housing in London.
But over time, they found that they had to turn people away because they were looking for larger – yet still affordable – two bedroom apartments. So the firm decided to figure out how to scale their model to larger units.
To do this, they went out and asked 19 architects to come up with ideas for a two bedroom Pocket apartment. They then published all of the ideas online.
Firstly, I applaud them for making their competition results public. Most real estate companies wouldn’t do this.
Secondly, it’s interesting to take note of the recurring design themes, as they have on page 24-25 of their competition book.
Some of the themes include “deep thresholds” that blur private and communal spaces; “thick walls” that allow for storage and servicing; flexible spaces and fewer dedicated spaces; and dual entry apartments.
This last item was particularly interesting to me. It’s a simple idea – two separate doors leading into one apartment – but it can allow for a number of flexible sharing scenarios. I am already imagining somebody creating an Airbnb rental out of their second bedroom.
Housing is certainly undergoing a transformation.