These award-winning, internationally disseminated projects offer new working and speculative models for social housing
provision in London in the context of the UK housing crisis. The designs demonstrate an achievable socially motivated
architectural approach, and aim to shift patterns of housing procurement by working example. Barber’s work as acclaimed housing architect draws on both modernism and traditional housing typologies to develop contemporary, high-quality, low-rise and socially-optimised housing, often for public authorities. Projects work at extremely high densities and within the financially exigent requirements of current housing procurement, while always making positive contributions to their neighbourhoods and city. While specific to their site, brief and conditions, they address common problems facing communities and housing, offering lessons for other projects and cities. They range in scale from innovative homeless hostels (built) through housing developments (built) to neighbourhood-scale proposals. Findings are explored further in a major (speculative and polemical) proposal for a low rise, high density, serviced neighbourhood encircling London. Working outwards in scale, Barber uses one-off projects to develop a building-by-building, socially focused approach to city-making. This actively contributes to a wider politically and socially motivated agenda, offering a workable, coherent and tested approach to housing extending from specific designs to strategies for ending the housing crisis altogether. These projects actively demonstrate to clients, local authorities, architects and users that it is possible to produce high-quality, characterful housing with good private facilities which embody a community-based approach to social and neighbourhood life, even given a procurement climate considered inimical to this. Barber’s lifelong work has
won 40 awards including (repeatedly) UK Housing Architect of the Year, NLA Building of the Year (Holmes Road 2016)
Royal Academy Grand Award for Architecture (2015) and been disseminated nationally and internationally including his
solo exhibition at London’s influential Design Museum (2018-19).