In the second semester of studies, one of my main projects is the continuation of the Science Central development with an in-depth analysis and evaluation of housing. This will involve considering and designing alternative housing such as Co-Housing and Live-Work, exploring different typologies like townhouses, courtyard, self-build as well as considering the economics and evaluations based on design quality & Building for Life 12 (BFL).
Our first task in this project was to visit housing developments in the North East such as Sinclair Meadows, Mailings in Ouseburn and assess them using the BFL as an evaluation tool. We also performed a desktop study of two additional sites through documentation and visual media such as mapping.
Figure 2 : Building for Life Process. CIQ Agency (no date) Integrate Plus.
As we visited some sites this meant we was physically able to see how the urban environment comes together, there were several benefits to this process in contrast with desktop studies. Firstly, and most obviously is that you can’t get a feel for a development and understand the significance of its environment through images and Google Maps. Another issue that arose was inconstancies in design and what is implemented on the ground. Which could be for instance; specifying of higher quality or specific materials in plans and in the end, they’ve used cheap materials. Furthermore, some aspects of the design maybe have been costed out but unless you visit the site you don’t know. Given that we will be exploring new forms of housing there will be developments which are currently under construction or recently constructed, I have found that these tend not to show up on Google as they tend to be older satellite images.
Figure 3 : Sinclair Meadows Taken by Author (2017)
Figure 4 : Brown. (2015) Newcastle’s Ouseburn’s lower Steenberg’s Yard
I thought this tool helped analyse a place critically from a human perspective, taking more consideration for how liveable and practical an area is to its inhabitants. What I found from using the BFL was that some of the criteria overlap meaning you must delve deeper into the issues related to it. Initially, I found trying to grade developments difficult to scrutinise a place when it has been designed by professionals with experience that have won awards. The traffic light grading system was okay, the BFL was condensed and simplified but in doing this I think it’s less scrupulous as it’s not a precise way to grade.