Barber is well known as one of the most talented British architects operating in housing design, linking his research into the nature of street life with the creation of high-density housing models. This built project, completed and inhabited in 2002, consists of an ultra-dense mixed-use urban regeneration scheme on a 4.5m wide slot infill site in Hackney. The project wraps a retail unit, two maisonettes and a live/work unit around a central courtyard at first-floor level; by doing so it achieves a density level which is equivalent to 650 habitable rooms per hectare, almost three times the density of local development. Research issues explored by Barber included how to design models of high-density mixed-use building that could help improve urban sustainability, and how to utilise new fabrication technologies – notably the parabolic roof vault to the rear – given a tight budget and construction schedule.
In terms of research, Barber’s scheme offers a novel spatial and technical response to the pressure on mixed-use development in a city like London with its land shortage and extremely high land unit costs. As such, Doris’s Place contributes squarely to contemporary research into higher densities of urban living, as being urged upon the profession by bodies such as the Urban Task Force and by architectural figures like Lord Richard Rogers and Ricky Burdett. The project was shortlisted for a RIBA London Region Award, and was written up variously in the Guardian, Independent, etc.; the innovative roof construction was subsequently analysed in Building Design (6 May 2005, p. 22). Barber is frequently invited to give public lectures, now having presented nearly 50 talks across Britain and abroad – including a special session on housing policy at the Labour Party Conference in Manchester (October 2006), and at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tehran, Iran (October 2007).
|Date||17 Sep 2002|
|Completed||17 Sep 2002|