In the second semester, our main studio design project was about “Housing Alternatives”. Aim for this module was to learn and research about various types of housing development schemes and their work models. Before we started with our studio project we learned about “BFL 12” (Building for life) which are basically twelve design criteria to design and develop a very successful site. After attending the introductory lecture on BFL 12, we visited various housing schemes around the city and tried to analysis and assess those schemes according to these criteria by ourselves. For me personally, it was a great experience to relate these criteria at live scheme practically which develops more understanding towards the details which we want to do or to avoid while designing. In the UK, all the house types, and sizes are very different than my country. Like, In UK houses have private garden space at the rear end which is opposite from where I live. Even the size of the house and all the rooms I found very small for the average house. By visiting these various sites I developed my knowledge towards this new typologies to start designing my own housing scheme in the UK as a studio project.
Another main aspect of this studio project was to develop knowledge about Co-housing, Live-work, Affordable, and lifecycle housing. specially co-housing and live-work were very interesting and new topics for me. To see how co-housing works and how is the life of a resident in a community-led development, we visited Lancaster cohousing community. Very interesting part of that trip was to cook for the residents to experience the community living. I enjoyed a lot cooking with my classmates using their common kitchen. After that, we discussed with the residents about their backgrounds, their professions, and all the activities they do in the community. This was the good experience to gain knowledge directly from the residents other than books or websites.
One more fun exercise related to community development we had was the co-design exercise. A purpose of this exercise was to experience the different characters for the potential community members of our scheme. It helped me to see through the eyes of various persons and their interests like a family person, retired person, young professional, a student, single parent etc. There were different games designed by groups to decide basic design principles for our cohousing community. And my theme was about the financial model. Over the semester passed we came to know that funding and phasing of the site are very important part of any development. Honestly, I struggled a bit with the finance and funding stuff but eventually after researching various case studies and reading different government funding schemes, I have got a good knowledge of funding models and different tenure types. Apart from that I also gained knowledge for affordable and sustainable housing. Especially I grew my interest in the modular prefabricated house. As in my country, we need a vast number of housing developments for poor and homeless people this knowledge is very helpful for me.
Overall it was very busy semester with total two design projects and independent research module. But after making studio our second home and spending nights working in the studio with the classmates, I gained very good knowledge of housing which is a big part of an Urban design field. And a trip to Italy for another design project for this semester was a trip to remember.