Flexible, urban, and sustainable accommodation for the modern family with small children? “No problem!”, we sunk our teeth into the problem right away. We are designing town houses in partnership with Ikano Bostad, after winning a competition.
The target audience is the modern family, which can take a number of different forms. Some parents live as couples, while others are single parents, have a baby on the way or look after their child every other week. This can obviously place high demands on the house. We think that it is important to focus on everyday needs, designing houses to suit people – not the other way round.
“Our vision was to create smart, flexible, personal housing, and our aim was to make it adaptable, enabling smart choices, as well as sustainable. We feel we’ve succeeded,” says Maria Nordin, former Studio Manager, Housing.
Ears to the ground
So what do families demand nowadays? That is where we started. How do we make life easier for the people who live in the house, so that they have time left for things other than cleaning, doing the dishes, the washing, stressing – the big question, right?
Of course, the home should be cosy and inviting. That’s why we use high-quality materials, both inside and outside, offer a pleasant fireplace, the opportunity to include a greenhouse, and have designed a well-thought-out floor plan where the lower floor is more open and social, while the upper floors give the feeling of separation.
Another more basic, but well-functioning, solution to at least some of these problems lay in storage. A tidy everyday life requires proper wardrobes, this much is clear. We therefore designed extra opportunities for tucking things away. And as the cherry on the cake, we have customised them to Ikea’s popular wardrobe series.
Our vision has been to create a smart, flexible, and personal living space
– Marie Nordin, former Studio Manager
Flexibility a matter of honour
This type of reality anchoring and flexibility has been a golden thread throughout the project, both from us and Ikano Bostad.
“The concept is based on a small number of components which can be joined together – like Lego – into various configurations, depending on the individual, community and location,” explains Stefan Rydin, head architect for the project.
These are combined to create different types of houses, providing a system that can be altered and developed over time for different locations. Urban characteristics such as varying heights, displacements, open ground floors, private upper floors and renewable materials create a diverse environment, reinforcing the city feel.
A better world for everyone
But if you want to make the world better, you have to think even bigger than that, which is just what we have done. It is not just families’ everyday lives that should be made versatile and sustainable, but the whole neighbourhood. By building flexible, small houses we can take advantage of areas where it would otherwise be difficult to build, and utilise attractive addresses near the city that have previously been empty.
It is important to create housing that works on several levels. Many young families are very interested in being climate smart, but at the same time unwilling to compromise their feelings and aesthetics associated with their home. We have listened to these desires. There are many chances to customise their house while the buildings have a common design language and a visual relationship, creating the popular urban look. In addition, there are smart solutions such as zero maintenance façades, solar panels on roofs, garbage sorting and car pools, which makes it much easier for parents to live up to their environmental ambitions.
First to be completed are the town houses in Vikhem in Staffanstorp and Elinegård in Malmö, but the point is that the houses can be adapted to numerous locations. For example, Ikano has now bought land in Nacka to build 100 homes.