Even for the most community minded amongst us this probably feels a step too far, but it’s interesting to think that as late as the 1960s it was routine to visit the public bath house for your weekly wash.
If you are interested in how homes have developed over time and what this means for things as broad as how we buy groceries to gender inequality, then ‘The Making of Home’ by Judith Flanders is worth a read.
It is tempting to think of what we do in our homes as being pretty consistent, however until the 18th Century most homes consisted of a single room containing almost all of the functions of living and working. Sounds strangely like… 2020/21?
It’s clear that in the short-to-medium-term we are going to see some meaningful changes in how we use our homes and what we expect from them. For many homeworking has become an established routine, which at times has brought huge and sudden pressure on domestic space. Last week we came across this ongoing research project by Rosie Parnell, at Newcastle University, drawing on experiences of the three lockdowns to ask “what makes a family home liveable?”.
At the same time, we were interested to read about this research from the Office for National Statistics reporting that in actual fact less than half of people living in London had worked from home in 2020, demonstrating that the assumption “we’ve all been at home for a year” is pretty flawed.
It just goes to show that experiences of ‘home’ are hugely divergent. As designers and commissioners of housing we need to work hard to understand the challenges that different groups and individuals face in relation to the circumstances of their living accommodation.
Housing quality is not something that starts (or stops) at the front door, and creating excellent homes also means creating excellent neighbourhoods and communities. We are embracing this challenge at the moment in Archio, working with co-housing developers TOWN and the Sussex Street CIC for a new co-housing community in Norwich. Which in a roundabout way brings us back to baths…
Our next panel discussion “Is sharing the future of living?” for the London Society is at 6:30pm on the 24th of June and will be exploring how homes of the future might employ sharing and collaboration to create more sustainable neighbourhoods and healthier homes. If it sounds interesting, you can get your tickets here.
We’re really excited about the speakers who are:
Sonia Solicari Director of the newly reopened Museum of the Home (book your tickets online it looks great!)
John Nordon Creative Director at B Corp and Housing Developer Igloo.
Cany Ash, Founding Partner of Architects Ash Sakula