A House for Artists review – perky, punchy affordable housing that inspires on all fronts

Substance, spirit and a sense of community distinguish this block of rental flats for cash-strapped creatives in Barking east London, designed by Apparata, with a little help from Grayson Perry Your typical new block of flats is something like this: corridors and lobbies, often windowless, lead to flats where everything is the minimum required by regulations. There is little wit or thought in the layout or pleasure in individual spaces – just the pursuit of the shortest route to squeezing in the maximum possible accommodation – nor in the stuff of which the building is made. The external walls, whether finished in skinny brickwork or some other cladding material, have a just-stuck-together feeling. There is no sense of substance, just an expedient assemblage of building products, which, if you tap them, will probably sound dull and hollow. You have to trust that these outcomes of opaque technical and regulatory procedures won’t burn or leak or fall off, but you have no particular reason to do so. A House for Artists in Barking, east London, designed by the young architectural practice Apparata, sets out to be the opposite. The journey from street to home is by external stairs and balconies that give you fresh air and views and a sense of space and of connection to the neighbourhood. There is enough space for residents to inhabit balconies with plants and personal objects while still leaving room for circulation. Ceilings are high and the walls to the apartments are mostly glass, which allows light to flood in. Large windows and doors can be folded open in good weather, such that inside and outside spaces flow into each other. Continue reading...

Post a Comment