This folio describes the development of a new, socially organised, commercially-driven, high density housing typology
through innovative approaches within commercial practice and building procurement – leading to the largest co-housing
project in the world (on completion), as well as to the writing of new legislation for large scale co-housing in London. This innovative project was done in collaboration between the design team at PLP Architects, led by Andrei Martin, and the client behind the commercial co-housing start-up The Collective. In devising a new typology at this scale, the project involved extensive consultation with the Greater London Authority (GLA), in a lengthy process of developing and negotiating legislative and planning frameworks and standards for this new typology, for which no legislation previously existed. The Collective model aimed to improve the experience of high density, micro dwelling units by delivering optimal opportunities for collective social space and social interaction. This included the use of social modelling concepts such as the Dunbar number intended to help optimise and enable community cohesion at high densities. The scale, nature and management of social and shared amenities within this project was a key part of the design development and strategy. The project also explored the possibility of large-scale containerised construction, before switching to lightweight metal construction. The prototype building delivered was The Collective at Old Oak, West London with 323 micro-units (551 beds) and a range of shared and public facilities. It was the largest co-housing project in the world when built in 2016, remaining in full occupancy and acting as a prototype for follow-on projects. The building has attracted widespread local and international interest across sectors including residential and lifestyle providers, family and sheltered housing, as well as in urban planning and place-making and in academic research.