NLA and the Mayor of London select 10 winning ideas to help solve the housing crisis

New London Architecture, the capital’s built environment think-tank, has today revealed the 10 ideas that have been selected from an international ideas competition to help solve the London housing shortage.

From living in shared homes to living on the water, building on top of public buildings and creating a megacity in the suburbs, the 10 ideas provide a radical rethinking of current housing delivery models.

The ideas will be presented to the Greater London Authority who will study their feasibility as options for the future of the London housing market. 100 of the entries to the competition will be on display in the New Ideas for Housing exhibition at the NLA Gallery from 15 October in central London.

With over 200 submissions from over 20 countries, the 10 finalists present a wide array of thought-provoking ideas that could change the way we live. Baca Architects has proposed using the untapped resource of the capital’s canal network as the solution and want to transform ‘generation rent’ into ‘generation float’. The practice calculates that some 7,500 new homes could be quickly created in a mere 6-12 months and would provide young Londoners with a realistic option for getting a foot on the property ladder.

WSP| Parson Brinckerhoff has looked into a very different type of underused resource – the rooftops of the capital’s public buildings. By delivering housing on top of existing public buildings such as hospitals, schools and libraries the research suggests that a total of 630,000 new homes could be delivered – far outnumbering the current need for 440,000 additional units.

As many of the submitters looked to the future, David Knoll looked to the past for his submission. Investing in London’s Future from its Past draws on the well-known leasehold system. It proposes separating the cost of housing from the cost of land in order to make it more affordable to build and buy new homes.

Pitman Tozer, LB Enfield and Naked House have combined to put the power back in the hands of the homeowner. By delivering stripped-back, shell-like structures they would be able to deliver cost effective housing efficiently, and would enable homeowners to customise and adapt the layout of their houses in order to fit their needs. Renowned architectural practice dRMM also used the concept of a shell and core structure, encouraging self-building among homeowners. In this case construction costs would be reduced by 40 per cent as internal fit-outs would no longer be needed.

Intimate Infrastructures by Natasha Reid Design provides an exploration into the east London area of Poplar. The scheme aims to combine existing buildings and infrastructure with new structures and public realm to create thriving dense areas of shared space and properties.

One of the most dramatic proposals that would enable the capital to deliver the vast amount of homes needed is the idea of a MegaCity by GL Hearn. The plan looks to maximise the potential of land supply across ‘Edge Land’ – between the inner London Green Belt to the M25.

The suburbs provided the inspiration for many of the submissions and Supurbia by HTA Design demonstrates how the outer London regions can be better adapted. The scheme proposes redeveloping local high streets to create an improved community focal point whilst homeowners would be allowed to release equity in their land for the development of new housing stock.

The Active Transport Accessibility Level believe the answer for solving the housing crisis lies in the transport network and making a number of areas in outer London more accessible, whilst Patrick J.A Massey CZWG believe the answer lies in improving and filling-in the gaps that already exist in our streets.

These 10 concepts along with the other 90 schemes that were shortlisted as part of the competition, will form the core of the New Ideas for Housing exhibition, supported by a showcase of the most innovative housing schemes already underway, and a new video display on the NLA’s interactive model of London.

Richard Blakeway, Deputy Mayor for Housing, Land and Property said:

“We asked for innovative and ambitious ideas, and we were certainly not disappointed. The range and sheer number of well-considered and imaginative entries was truly impressive. Some ideas were eye-catchingly radical – such as a floating neighbourhood transforming sites on the Thames. Others were simple yet brilliant – such as redefining the index of public transport accessibility (PTAL).
Without a doubt, the entries showcase some exciting ways to challenge the traditional approach to house building and we look forward to pursuing the ideas set out by winning entries in discussions here at City Hall.”

Peter Murray, Chairman, NLA said:

“The way we are delivery new homes today just isn’t working. London is only able to build half the number it needs each year. This competition shows how a bit of creativity, entrepreneurship and new thinking can help to fill that gap.”

A New House of London, a shipping container house by Carl Turner Architects, Arup and The Building Centre, will also be on display in Store Street South Crescent alongside the exhibition.