The design process for 2Up 2Down has been open and collaborative. It has been combined the expertise of the architects URBED, with the enthusiasm and ideas of the young people, and the needs and requirements of the end users.
We believe taking this approach has created both a more substantial proposal – one that is actually wanted by people in the local community – and a more interesting architectural proposal – as the many factors which influence the project brief have come together through dialogue between all of the different parties involved, on this small but prominent site in the middle of Anfield. A ‘feedback loop’ has been created between the architects, the young people, the end user clients, and the community land trust. This will continue as the process develops towards construction, through planning and into detailed design.
At the core of the process is a series of intensive design workshops with young people from Anfield – held both in the bakery itself and in local schools. These workshops have followed the process of a traditional design process, though using tools and methods that allow those untrained in design to articulate their ideas about space, place, shape and form.
The young people interviewed each of the future users/ residents for the scheme, to find out what their needs and wishes are, so they could be incorporated into the designs. Once we’d arrived at some initial design ideas, we showed these to the clients and users to make sure we were heading in the right direction, and they will be checked again before being finalised.
The next task for the young people was to visit the site to measure and analyse its main features – the building size and the overall size of the site, its orientation, location, sunlight and daylight, local facilities and transport. We then made drawings of this to record what we had found.
We started to bring together the site analysis and brief development by creating 1:200 massing models on the site in plasticine – so we could work out what could fit where. We could try out different ideas at this scale – like roof level greenhouses, sun terraces and different arrangements of houses and apartments.
Once we knew the rough location of each element we worked on the internal layouts, using magnetic flat planning kits at 1:50. Throughout this we had to think hard about the things the users and residents had asked for, but also things like daylighting and making sure the layout was safe in case there was a fire.
Precedents and collage making
As well as working out the practical aspects of the site arrangement and internal plans, we thought about what we wanted the designs to like and feel like – the materials and colours inside and out. We did this by looking at other projects from across the globe, and picking out those ones (or bits of ones) we liked best. This was not just about the visual impact of the scheme, but also about creating the right atmosphere and the right mix of old and new, so we create the character we want for the buildings.
Some of us used computer modelling to test our design ideas in three dimensions – to make sure what we wanted would fit and still look and feel good.
Full scale modelling – houses and apartments
Once we had some internal plans we liked, we modelled them at full scale in cardboard. This meant we could test whether we liked the layouts we had created by walking through them, to see whether the rooms were too big or too small, and whether they were in the right place in relation to each other.
For this pre-planning application stage of the project, we brought all our ideas together in a 1:50 scale model of the whole block in cardboard. This was made so it could be taken apart for a look around inside – much like a doll’s house. We can add things to this and use it as a working sketch model as the scheme progresses.
Full scale modelling and design workshop – bakery
With the group that have formed the cooperative to run the bakery we held a one-day design workshop to look in more detail at the plans for this area. Because we held this in the building we were able to perform role-plays and model the layout of the shop and the bakery space in full scale – so we could more easily decide things like how the shop was going to relate to the bakery space in the back, and where and how big the opening between them should be, and where the shop counter should go.