William Millward

Co-Estate – Re-activating Tenement Housing

The project addresses the panelized concrete estates of Budapest, a key housing typology that stretches across the city. Throughout the urban analysis, I highlighted this typology as being key to the transformation of the city due to the repetitive nature of the blocks which used Soviet panel technology, predominantly built between 1950-1980. This architectural typology stems from political ideas created to suppress the emergence of community. As a result, the estates are currently isolated from the city, creating environments where residents are disconnected from their neighbors. The question was how we can transform these existing spaces to respond to the needs of current residents addressing the issues of the existing architecture. Can new types of living and working reshape the way we use our homes? Havanna Estate on the outskirts of Budapest was chosen as a case study to implement the architectural ambition.

Between the Blocks - Social Space
Between the Blocks – Social Space

Throughout the urban analysis of the Havanna estate, I identified the architectural issues of its shared space infrastructure, with the lack of community spaces and defined zones. The lack of connection of the social scales between city and estate formed the critical position of the project, which focuses on creating new living types and social spaces to create architecture that supports the new community by encouraging and facilitating crossover, collaboration, and cooperation. The proposal aims to address these issues and disrupt the existing typology with the introduction of Co-living and Co-Working spaces throughout the estate, this type of Living can support issues of both safety and sociability, supporting the creation of new social infrastructures. Co-Living in the panelized estates could create a lifestyle centered on sharing, whether that’s space, values, or ideas.

The design creates a number of levels and new social datum’s across all scales of the project from apartments, to blocks, to the whole estate. This can be seen through the social spaces defined on floors 00-02 which create an urban landscape containing a range of public and private amenities, consisting of parks, shops, co-work spaces among others. The undefined green space lost on the ground floor has been recreated on the 6th-floor roof of the new central additions, which creates a new social datum across the estate connecting the residents.

When developing the living spaces within the proposal I have created flexible living spaces aimed at addressing new ways of living, creating spaces that question the traditional family structure and traditional levels of privacy. Throughout my proposal, I have used flexible walls which can be folded away to change the function of the living spaces and transparent materiality sharing light across the apartments. The design creates fixed elements such as kitchens and bathrooms, and flexible spaces such as bedrooms, living, offices, gyms. “A place for an occupant that can potentially always sleep on a couch, live with a dog, cook on the balcony, eat on the floor, read in the bathroom, and stand on the kitchen counter. A disconnected physical space waiting to be inhabited in the richest way possible”