Housing Design – random thoughts

I have been talking about making cemeteries into useable public spaces and places for some time, and on building homes on the edge of parks and public open spaces in order to provide a degree of ‘Natural Surveillance’. I have some examples of what I mean and what can be done, but they are old fashioned photographs in the depths of my archives and I haven’t got around to scanning them. But I came across this example in Kent last Thursday:

Rolvenden Cemetary

By having the front door facing into the grave-yard, and a low picket fence, the residents can oversee anything which is going on and thus nothing dodgy does go on. The same approach can be taken with parks and other open spaces with homes fronting them instead of the usual arrangement of backgardens and high fences.

Whilst on the subject of homes I will also mention one the the many things which annoy me – the treatment of windows.

The is a newish development:

Rolvenden Small Windows

but look at the tiny windows. The occupants must need to have their lights on all of the time – and if there is a good view they can’t actually get much of it. I know that the small window syndrome has come about because of the need to reduce energy loss and energy use but this is a lazy way to do so, and a way which I think we will end up regretting. It is also another example of something which seems too prevalent today – being able to only think of one thing at a time.

A while back we felt the need to have larger windows:

Rolvenden Large Windows

I know that priorities over energy conservation were different when these homes were built, and I am not saying that the design is good – but it does illustrate how we have had ‘fashions’ in window size.

I also know we are more energy conscious nowadays but it is possible to have larger windows (of harmonious proportions) and still meet the low energy use requirements. To me, the small and badly proportioned fenestration we see all to often in new housing is lazy and something we will regret in the long run.

Also, good design doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive.

To me, this is an example of good design:

Good design Rye

and it is good design because of the proportions used. I am not saying that I want to see new homes copying this, but why can’t most developers learn that a simple design, using good proportions, works and isn’t any more expensive than adding fake details?









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