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Competition: Forest Gate co-living, London

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The RIBA has launched an international contest for a co-living development in Forest Gate, east London

Open to registered architects around the world, the Co-Living in London competition seeks ‘innovative’ proposals for a residential development featuring a series of 19m2 micro apartments in the Forest Gate area of Newham.

The project, backed by developer bedu.uk, aims to deliver a pioneering co-living community where facilities such as kitchens, utility spaces, play areas, gardens and outside areas are shared between residents. Teams participating in the contest may also be approached for additional opportunities beyond this project, which is the developer’s inaugural co-living scheme.

RIBA adviser for the competition Hugh Broughton said: ‘The high cost of housing in London is a constant challenge for its inhabitants.

‘This competition offers architects the chance to explore innovative ways to provide market affordable homes within a communal setting. The brief encourages new ideas to help create meaningful places which are a joy to live in and improve resident’s quality of life.’

Forest Gate is a mainly residential district home to several large green spaces including Wanstead Flats and West Ham Park. The area, 3km east of the Olympic Park, is connected by overground train to central London and will be served by Crossrail when it opens next year.

The competition focuses on the site of a light residential warehouse (pictured) near Romford Road. The single-storey complex – surrounded by a hotel, mosque and kitchen joinery workshop – is expected to be demolished to make way for the scheme.

Co-living is a method of sharing communal facilities between several private homes, and was pioneered in Denmark during the 1960s.

The initiative allows neighbours to collaboratively plan and manage their shared environment, and is understood to bring certain social and practical, economic and environmental benefits, including reducing the amount of space needed for each private home.

The contest aims to deliver a series of low-rent co-living micro studios, where smart phone apps allow residents to manage their shared spaces. Proposals should encourage community interaction, be designed to age well with minimal maintenance, and respond to the views of potential residents.

The client will survey interested occupiers during the competition and integrate their requirements for space and design into the judging and selection process.

Interested teams must first submit a brief expression of interest and a description of their co-living vision. Up to 10 applicants will then be longlisted and invited to draw up massing concepts and attend interview.

Five shortlisted teams will then receive £3,000 + VAT each to develop designs and attend a final interviews. Longlisted teams failing to make the shortlist will receive £1,000 + VAT each.

The overall winner, set to be announced on 10 July, will receive £40,000 to develop the scheme further. Competition judges will include Broughton, Takero Shimazaki of t-sa Architects, planning consultant Matthew Johnson and client representatives.

The deadline for applications is 2pm, 24 April.

How to apply

Visit the competition website for more information

Contact details

RIBA Competitions
No 1 Aire Street

Email: riba.competitions@riba.org

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