Could this multigen house be the answer all ages have been looking for?
So how might the residential market respond to the changing patterns of how we live, with more young adults living at home, the pressure of care for our older relatives and the rise of multigenerational households? And is there a flexible solution that will enable different generations to live comfortably without getting under each other’s feet?
A scheme by architecture practice PRP at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, east London, has begun to address the growing need for multi-generational homes in the UK by aiming to bridge the gap between young and old with what it calls ‘lifecycle housing’.
Working with housebuilder Taylor Wimpey, PRP won a design competition organised by the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) for new homes that would be built on the Olympic Park once the 2012 Games had finished.
The scheme at Chobham Manor consists of three-storey, three-bed homes each with a self-contained studio annexe. The flexibility of the layout allows for various arrangements – the annexe could be used for a grandparent or a returning child; it could be used as a home office; or it could be rented out.
"The flexibility of the layout allows for various arrangements – the annexe could be used for a grandparent or a returning child; it could be used as a home office; or it could be rented out."
Manisha Patel, PRP.
According to PRP partner Manisha Patel, the Chobham Manor scheme was a response to the rising cost of living in the capital. “There are pressures on the cost of living, particularly in London,” she says. “The cost of nursery places was a big political issue, and there are pressures on both parents to work. Alongside this, there was the rising cost of elderly care n the UK.”
What PRP’s design has done, she says, is to give people choice in a market that doesn’t offer much of it. “It seems to be gearing up and has become more popular,” she adds.
There is certainly demand for such a concept. Patel says that had it failed to sell, Taylor Wimpey planned to put the product up for affordable rental, but there was no need for a plan B because they sold very quickly.
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