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‘The Guts’, New Islington, Manchester Mae Architects

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More Homes, Better Homes: The AJ presents twelve exemplar housing schemes

At New Islington we concentrated on aspects of a dwelling that contribute to quality of life. A sense of security is achieved through a well-defined relationship to the street, active frontage and good surveillance of public space. Generous internal space is achieved with 2.7m floor-to-ceiling heights and space standards about 20 per cent bigger than Parker Morris standards. All houses have a garden with southerly aspect and generous balcony at first floor, facing south or east. Designing to good environmental standards and reducing running costs alleviates some of the high costs of living.

While the density is not high at 40dph, it is above the sort of development that has dominated suburban extensions for decades.
The model illustrated by The Guts (AJ 08.11.12) may not solve the housing crisis, but it does demonstrate how to develop family housing with all the qualities that we have come to expect from suburban living at a sustainable urban density.

Alex Ely, director, Mae Architects

Recommendation: Essex Mews, Rockmount Road, London by MW Architects


Three new houses by MW Architects for Solid Space Developments in Crystal Palace. The scheme develops the Solid Space house typology to work on a difficult sloping site by adopting a split section that maximises floor area and creates interconnecting volumes of space. The architecture uses the topography of the site to give an impression of small mews houses but with generous, contemporary spaces inside.

Internally, the three main living spaces all connect to a double-height volume, giving each space individual definition yet spatial connection and plenty of natural light. The vertical circulation makes the transition into the smaller private spaces for sleeping.

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