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Joint runner-up: Back Garden City

Barefoot Architects

We were very taken with the concept of the backland grannies but wanted it to go further and feel like a real community – Julia Park

A SterlingOSB roof lantern gives the dwelling generous height, volume, air and light.
A SterlingOSB roof lantern gives the dwelling generous height, volume, air and light.

As with the other joint runner-up, this proposal from Barefoot Architects focuses on the under-utilised space in suburban back-gardens – this time specifically in a low-density suburb of Bristol that was built to Garden City principles.

A variety of unit configurations are possible in a typical post war suburb.
A variety of unit configurations are possible in a typical post war suburb.

Back Garden City proposes to take advantage of the generous plots given to these post-war houses to create clusters of new single storey homes. Built in the back gardens, these homes would allow family members to live completely independently but still in extremely close proximity to the main house.

Internally the single storey dwellings are simply arranged.
Internally the single storey dwellings are simply arranged.

Each unit has been designed to be appropriate for the back garden sites, while being practical to build and great places to live, with a focus on the key issues of overlooking and scale. However, the most interesting part of the proposal is the high number of potential configurations that can be created from the separate units. 

Potential arrangements (from top to bottom): An individual annexe in a rear garden, a starter home built across two gardens and a cohousing cluster.
Potential arrangements (from top to bottom): An individual annexe in a rear garden, a starter home built across two gardens and a cohousing cluster.

An individual family could create an annex for an elderly parent or a separate dwelling for a young adult living at home; neighbours could develop units with a shared access; or groups of existing residents could collaborate to create clusters of dwellings. These clusters would develop their own micro community feel with a shared outdoor space.


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