This chapter is devoted to my own idea of designing an estate house in concept form only and at a later stage to be prefabricated for mass production whilst using sustainable methods. It is an attempt to address the issues outlined in previous chapters assisted by helpful consultative expertise. I am presenting Stage 1 as a cellular approach for the planning of activities, and Stage 2 a more realistic plan derived from Stage 1 but as a more compact solution. The final desired scheme is reduced even more in floor area to be more competitive with the marketplace. I propose three-roof design solutions to the same plan. The whole series represents the design process at work. The design approach for anything that is produced in a factory must be similar to designing a product such as a kettle or motorbike. Le Corbusier (Le Corbusier. 1887–1965. Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, known as Le Corbusier, was a Swiss-French architect, designer, painter, urban planner, writer, and one of the pioneers of what is now called modern architecture. He was born in Switzerland and became a French citizen in 1930.) wrote “A house is a machine for living in,” in his 1927 manifesto Vers Une Architecture (Towards A New Architecture). This was not to be taken literally but was rather to inspire an approach embracing efficiency of control over aesthetics and function. The product designer considers all the ‘working parts’ and decides through customer needs and research what is seen or expressed and what is contained or ‘hidden’. A house exposes rather more proportionately to an engineered product both inside and outside. There are degrees of containment in a house from common usage spaces to more private spaces; from primary storage (open shelving to kitchen/utility cupboards, wardrobes) to secondary storage (generally attic spaces). I am well aware that architects, developers and local authorities have to work within cost constraints to make a project financially viable and they also have to ensure that it falls in line with current building regulations. It is my sincere belief that current regulatory space standards need an overhaul as they do not serve the public well. I am also aware that since the concept of the tree-lined suburban avenues of the past idyllic suburbia, the population whom we serve have not been given appropriate living accommodation that gives them the human dignity that they deserve. As you have seen in the Case Studies of Chap. 2
, there are some beautifully well-designed complexes that have won awards for their improved contribution towards providing a housing community. The main problem is that architects seem to be caught in the trap of boxy modernism that denies any geometric variation when it comes to the interiors. Once pig-pen architecture along with its cost constraints takes control by being given the green light from the authorities and stakeholders, it is a strong controlling factor. Realising that I have an uphill task, my proposals are in two concept stages only, and as with any design project, it requires the makers to make their contributions according to the cost constraints imposed. I totally accept that the detailed construction of the structure and services will affect the finished article but I am also aware that many variations are possible. In my proposals, furniture is indicative as occupants will obviously personalise their own spaces. My position can also be explained by the following quote by Jamer Hunt in the book ‘Design Anthropology’ (Alison J Clarke editor. Design Anthropology.
Chap. 6 by Jamer Hunt ‘Prototyping the Social: Temporality and Speculative Futures at the Intersection of design and Culture.):
There is a fringe of design practice that does adopt a more ideologically driven position in relation to design’s place in the world, and that work begins to point to a fruitful conjoining of critical social analysis and design. These projects envision design futures through the technique of scenarios. They stretch our current conditions to their logical extreme, extrapolating the present into the future. Like science fiction, these scenarios of a designed future foreground the politics of our current manias. In that way, they implicitly challenge our designed—and social and political orthodoxies. The projects effectively aim to give form to emergent social practices, providing us with a distorting mirror through which to see our present. The scenarios, by and large, are social scenarios in which the material and immaterial built environment prompt new kinds of behaviours.