The City and the Street :
Regenerating a Typology

Year 4  Urban Theory, Analysis and Design + Integrated Architectural Design

The former multi-storey site which left a hole in the heart of Hilltown, Dundee for over a decade brings vitality back to the enclave, repairing the street and connecting the district with the City Centre. Proposed is an affordable housing development with a mix of tenures and apartment types, where mixed use on the ground floor attracts people to the area, providing a much needed boost to the local economy. The development emulates elements of the historic Scottish tenement and utilises it as a vehicle for social change in response to modern lifestyles. 

A route of urban acupuncture as part of a wider master-plan links the length of the Hilltown Road with the existing street art trail that runs through the City Centre and along Perth Road. The intervention route of colourful structures and seating continues through the inner courtyard of the development - a fully pedestrianised zone for play and socialising. The courtyard is reminiscent of the space inside the archetypal tenement block, which was a semi-private area for the residents. However, in the re-invented tenement, the historic notion of ‘front and back’ is challenged as it is no longer the norm to keep the rear of the buildings hidden from public view due to the invention of the modern kitchen and bathroom.

The success of the historic tenement as a typology arguably stemmed from its ability to be easily replicated to form a block or row on a site, while dealing with level changes. The cost effectiveness of the repeated unit is the driving force of this scheme and allows a high quality of construction and materialiy to be afforded, which would not typically be found in social housing. The internal spaces reflect the abolishment of the old ‘front and back’ through open plan kitchen and living rooms and bedrooms facing both the Hilltown Road and the inner courtyard. 
The apartments are designed as tenure blind for social rent, rent-to-buy, affordable home ownership, the co-living as mid-market rent and duplex as mid-high market sale. Mixing tenures in one building unit helps to break the stigma surrounding social housing and aims to mitigate issues which arise from a high density of social rents. The Hilltown, in a socio-economic regard, has been segregated from the rest of Dundee and this development aims to combat the Enclave.

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In response to modern lifestyles, new spatially diverse typologies within the tenement were created to offer a higher degree of flexibility in the home. New typologies such as studios already exist within tenements; flats which have been sub-divided by landlords, but there are rarely opportunities for double levels within.  The four duplex apartments are to be offered at mid to high market sale, which elevates the value of the development while remaining as an affordable housing majority. These apartments create a varied elevation and with permanent residents rather than temporary tenures, communal areas within the units will hopefully be well kept and respected.

 

The duplex apartments offer a generous separation between living, work and sleeping areas. Sliding translucent partitions on the upper level divide the space as required by the occupants, to give sociable work spaces [3 bedroom duplex] or to create an open and bright atmosphere [1 bedroom duplex]. They afford privacy and control over their respective spaces, while allowing light to softly filter through. The typology of the single level studio can be found in tenements today where renovated rooms function as entire flats, however, in the modern revival, the studio has the ability to be partitioned to allow for flexibility in programme and privacy.

In lieu of a traditional semi-private space to the rear of the building, the regenerated tenement features a rooftop garden on each building accessible only by the residents. Here, people can relax, socialise with neighbours and grow plants and vegetables in the greenhouse. This space can help to nurture a sense of community within the individual blocks, and due to the low number of residents per unit [creating an optimum density] people will feel more ownership over the space. They will be more likely to engage with the communal garden and help with upkeep and maintenance.

This sense of ownership is hypothesised to extend to the neighbourhood as a whole, aiding in transforming this part of Hilltown from a neglected and decaying array of empty shops and poor public spaces into a bright and thriving destination for people from all over Dundee. The Hilltown Community Fridge located in the courtyard will attract people to visit from the surrounding areas while mitigating the stigma around food banks and social housing in general. The Regenerated Tenements will become a landmark for Hilltown,  fostering a vibrant street-scape and providing opportunities to live and work for people from all walks of life.

Final Grade - A4

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